Communique from striking workers in southern Iran, translated for the International Association in Support of Iranian Workers.
More than 70% of Iranian workers are on contracts and work under very hard conditions. 80% of them are beneath the poverty line. Workplaces with fewer than ten workers are not even controlled by labour legislation. There are contracts known as “blank signatures”, which means no term of employment is given. The average wage for workers was aprox £190 a month in 2010 for the poorest 8 million workers, not counting those who work in factories with fewer than ten workers. The lack of health and employment legislation as well non payment of wages for up to eighteen months in some cases, are the some of the harshest working conditions.
In dissent against these work contracts, and against contracting companies, from 28th September, 6500 united petrochemical workers in Bandar Imam, tired of management and government lies, took strike action.
Official workers have continually shown the intelligence and pride of workers in solidarity, by defeating management attempts to devalue the role of contracted workers in production. Contracted workers are fighting for the right to collective bargaining and official status and, drawing on previous and contemporary strikes in their industry will build an independent organization in the heart of this struggle.
Independent of the particular results of the current strike, and the strike begun in Farvardin 1390, this would be a great victory for all Iranian workers. The victory of the striking workers is that they have turned the basic and urgent needs of the Iranian working class into current militant demands.
The solidarity of united workers in Tabriz petrochemical company who struck for collective bargaining and official status in Farvardin 1390, workers in other sectors and international organizations gives the striking workers necessary strength and confidence.
The International Alliance in Support of Workers in Iran salutes the struggle of the petrochemical workers of Mahshahr and seek the solidarity of all workers in this regard. We stand by them as they struggle to remove contracting companies from their industry and achieve collective contracts and official status across all workplaces. We will strive with all out energy to defend them internationally.
We ask labour organizations, unions and parties, as well as all freedom-loving and equalit-seeking people to defend and strengthen the struggle of the striking petrochemical workers in Bandar-e Imam.
International Association in Support of Iranian Workers
30th September 2011-10-02
N.B Three striking workers were arrested Saturday 1st October and released the next day.