Oil Workers in Iran Continue to Resist Despite Repressions

Taking any step in pursuing workers’ demands, in the hellish capitalist system of the Islamic Republic, is not without risks, nor without countless obstacles. It is especially so for the Iranian workers today, those who are trying to link the workers’ strikes to the current protest movement.

The oil workers with their organising council and the sugarcane workers of Haft Tappeh have taken the courageous initial steps. The statements below show how the oil workers are struggling to overcome these obstacles. The temporary one-month contracts that they have been forced to sign, as well as the dispersion of their workplaces over hundreds of miles from each other, gives an indication how difficult the way forward is.

By publishing these statements, we are aiming to strengthen the participation, solidarity and international integration of workers, which shapes our basic and critical internationalist positions.

We are Going on Strike in Solidarity with the People's Struggle

A group of our fellow workers in the oil and petrochemical projects, under the title of “oil and gas artisans”, has announced a campaign for a nationwide strike in the oil and gas sector in solidarity with the people's struggles and against government repressions. The strike will begin on Saturday, 29 October, by a walk out in the workshops. The Council for Organising Protests by Oil Contract Workers also demands the release of the recently arrested and detained workers, and all political prisoners detained during protests against the government's repressions. It gave an ultimatum that the workers will not remain silent in the face of these conditions, announcing the preparation of mass protests. Along with the announcement of this campaign, we call for a nationwide strike from Saturday, 29 October. The organising council calls on all workers working in oil and oil-related centres, including all contractual and official workers and colleagues working in the operational, technical and staff departments and fuel supply drivers, to join this nationwide strike. In this way, along with the people chanting “Women, Life, Freedom”, we the oil workers will also go on strike on 29 October. One of our immediate demands is the release of the recently arrested and detained colleagues and all political prisoners, and we shout with all our strength, "political prisoners must be freed"!
We need to stress that, unlike those behind the campaign of "oil and gas artisan", our protests have nothing to do with Cyrus the Great Day(1) and celebrations like this. Our workers' protest is against poverty, discrimination, inequality and the whole scale of anti-woman and anti-worker brutality.
The Council for Organising Protests by Oil Contract Workers protests demands the unity and solidarity of all oil workers. We oil workers hope to be able to fulfil our historical role and duty with our powerful strike in order to achieve the people’s just demands and to end oppression and slavery in the whole society.

Council for Organising Protests by Oil Contract Workers, 27 October 2022

Why Did We Postpone the Strike? More Workers Have Been Arrested

On Friday, 28 October, another oil contract worker, named Mohammad Malmali Golzari, was arrested by the security forces in Bibi Maryam Park in Izeh city. So far, there is no information about the whereabouts and reasons for the arrest of this detained worker. According to what news we can get, the security forces have arrested a large number of workers in full coordination with the refinery and the private security forces of other firms.
Considering these conditions and the police atmosphere of most of the work environments, the organising council, in agreement with workers, came to the conclusion to temporarily postpone the strike announced on 29 October and determine its future protest plans with more preparations.
It must be said that the organising council had given the first ultimatum to the strike in our statement on 26 September in protest against government repression(2), after which the fellow workers in oil and gas projects went on strike in several areas in continuation with the national protests of the people on 10 and 11 October and were immediately brutally attacked by the security forces, some of whom are still in custody. In the face of this repression we declared, and we declare again, that the workers will not remain silent.
The Council for Organising Protests by Oil Contract Workers once again emphasises solidarity with popular protests and their stated demands and is preparing for more widespread protests. The organising council emphasises the unity of all sectors of oil workers. The oil workers themselves are part of the same people who are protesting against poverty, oppression and anti-women policies and stand for a decent life.
Our immediate demands are: the immediate release of imprisoned fellow workers and all recently arrested and political prisoners, the removal of repression forces and temporary contractors from our workplaces.

Council for Organising Protests by Oil Contract Workers, 30 October 2022

Protest Rally in Asalouyeh

According to the news published on social networks, the workers of the repair department of Pardis Petrochemical Urea Production Complex in Asalouyeh have started a protest rally.
These workers have announced a strike today, Wednesday, 2 November, due to their demands not being addressed.

Council for Organising Protests by Oil Contract Workers, 2 November 2022

Two of our Colleagues, Farid Koravand and Mohammad Malmoli Golzari, are Still in Custody

As you know, during the protests of the oil workers in solidarity with the public protests, more than 250 of our colleagues were arrested on 10 and 11 October on the sites of Yek Bushehr, Kangan and Phase 2 of the Abadan Refinery.
During this period, under the pressure of the protest atmosphere in the oil industry and the ultimatums of their fellow workers, many of them have been released on bail or surety and even by paying a fine.
According to reports that have reached the organising council, two other colleagues, Farid Koravand, who works at the Yek site, and Mohammad Malmoli Golzari, who works at Phase 2 of the Abadan Refinery, are still in custody.
It is said that a number of others are still in custody, but due to the prevailing police atmosphere and the existence of numerous units and workshops, we have not received more information.
The Council for Organising Protests by Oil Contract Workers insists on the immediate and unconditional release of the detained workers.
With the power of nationwide protests, all those arrested in people's protests can be released.

Council for Organising Protests by Oil Contract Workers, 6 November 2022

Report No.1: On the Protest Atmosphere Among the Permanent Staff of the Ministry of Oil

In protest against the non-implementation of Article 10, the non-adjustment of the hiring tables, and the lack of response to other demands, for several days now the permanent staff of Pars Oil and Gas Company working across 37 gas platforms in the South Pars region have not sent their daily reports on the amount of extraction and production from these platforms and their repair agenda forms to the higher authorities.
Each of these platforms produces about twenty-eight million cubic metres of gas and gas condensate daily. According to work regulations, the amount of production from each platform must be reported to the managers on a daily basis for the Ministry to plan for urban use in the provinces, factories and food industries. Failure to send these reports will cause the Ministry of Oil serious problems.
From tomorrow, 7 November, in continuation with the protest actions, it was decided that the permanent staff will refuse their daily meal at the workplace in a coordinated manner across all units.
By announcing these news and their decisions, the permanent staff say how in less than an hour, the parliament voted to increase the salaries of the armed forces by 20%, but for more than ten years, they have been ignoring the approved law and its clauses on oil workers' livelihood.
Following the announcement of this symbolic protest movement, the management of Pars Oil and Gas Company has announced that they are seriously warning that such actions will encourage the enemies of the Islamic State, the foreign networks will benefit from it. So they have threatened that publishing any messages which encourage strikes and disruptions in the oil and gas production process will be met with a legal response.
Despite these threats, workers are determined to continue their protests in various forms.
The Council for Organising Protests by Oil Contract Workers, while emphasising the nationwide strike in all oil sectors, supports this action of the permanent staff and requests them to send pictures and videos of their protest actions to this council in order to support these protests.

Council for Organising Protests by Oil Contract Workers, 6 November 2022

Report No.2: On the Protest Atmosphere Among the Permanent Staff of the Ministry of Oil

On 6 November, we published a report about the protests of permanent staff of the Ministry of Oil in different operational areas.
In that report, it was pointed out that at the beginning of the protest actions, workers will refuse their food quota, and they will start this symbolic protest movement from 7 November.
Despite the threats that the permanent staff received from the management of Pars Oil and Gas Company and the security departments of Petrorefineries, the protest against the non-implementation of Article 10 of the Oil Law and the disregard for the livelihood of the employees has begun and taken its first step.
We have received pictures of these protests and strikes of official oil and gas employees.
We request all workers to send their reports of protests and pictures of their practical actions to the Council for Organising Protests by Oil Contract Workers.
Our emphasis is still on the formation of nationwide protests and strikes in all sectors of the oil industry.

Council for Organising Protests by Oil Contract Workers, 8 November 2022


(1) Cyrus the Great Day takes place on 29 October, the day when it is said Cyrus II of Persia, founder of the Achaemenid Empire, entered Babylon. The holiday is mainly observed by Iranian nationalists and monarchists.

(2) See: leftcom.org

Thursday, November 10, 2022