On May 1, known as International #laborday the regime had another chance to pick on the country’s workers and their countless problems. In particular, their salary and wages, syndicate issues, payment delays, and the safety of the workplace, as well as the right to form a workers’ union.
Assessments of the situation of #Iranian workers published during the past 12 months by the media or organizations active in this field shows at least 813 workers died during past year due to workplace accidents caused by a lack of safety measures or hazardous work situations.
In addition to 813 deaths, 1,486 injury cases due to work accidents were reported. This data was gathered by the Statistics Department of this foundation.
Despite the magnitude of these numbers, the lack of transparency of these industries and from those in charge and responsible for workers’ #safety means the majority of work-related accidents do not find their way to the media.
To better understand this matter, take a look at the statements of Darius Panahi, the Vice President of Sanitary Professions and Medical Commissions of the Social Welfare Administration Bureau. Emphasizing that the work-related accident numbers are too high, during the past year more than 30 thousand workers have suffered accidents, said Panahi. The majority of these #accidents are related to workers’ hands and fingers.
According to the official statistics published regarding work-related accidents, 40% of these accidents are related to unsafe workplaces. About one hundred people are disabled each day. Unfortunately, the expenses caused by these accidents are about 8% of Iran’s GDP.
In the international ranking of safety measures, #Iran is number 102, which is a very low ranking. Additionally, according to the gathered statistics, at least 81,530 workers have more than 3,286 months of wages in arrears.
Among the most important workers’ events during the past year in Iran, one can mention the protests of Hepko and AzarAb in Arak; the industrial machines and trucks of #Tabriz; oil and gas industry workers in the south of the country; and the sugar cane workers of Hafttappah.
During the past 12 months, we have observed different forms of protesting activities by #workers in the different cities of Iran. A vast number of workers have come to the streets to protest their overdue salaries and the lack of attention to their insurance claims. Some of these workers have gone on #strike as they have not received up to 23 months of their salaries.
The level of demands of the working class during the last year has been exceptional. Among the reasons for the dispersion and disruption of protests and gatherings, we could name oppression and the failure to recognize the rights of syndicates and independent #labor unions, the imprisonment, and issuance of sentences for several labor activists, and the denial of the right of workers to complain to international organizations and foundations.
The workers’ union, as in the international meaning of the word, does not exist in Iran. The independent syndicates, such as the Vahed bus company, Hafttappah sugar cane syndicate, Khabbaz workers syndicate, and the Free Union of Workers, are subject to political and national security allegations.
During the past 12 months, at least 81 workers and workers’ activists have been arrested. We could mention the arrests of 34 workers of Hafttappah and the arrests of 10 workers of the Ahwaz steel industrial group by storming into their houses during the night. The workers of the Ahwaz steel industrial group have protested their overdue salaries multiple times in Ahwaz.
The minimum wage for workers in Iran was announced to be 930,000 Toman. According to the official statistics, the minimum wage has to be at least 2,500,000 Toman just to be above the poverty line. As a result, we have a huge gap between the real monthly expenses and the minimum wage of the workers.
Child Labor, and Women Workers; Two Cheap Workforces
Banning child labor and providing the chance of free education for children, applying workplace safety standards, and the removal of discriminating laws for women and immigrant workers are a number of the concerns of the working class.
Despite the fact that Iranian women workers are described as the cheapest workforce, their employment situation is even worse than that of men. They receive less legal support and have a lower minimum wage.
The women workers’ situation is worse than that of their male colleagues. Their situation does not allow them to hold the high ground in negotiations. Additionally, the industrial production units are less interested in employing married women. In some cases, they only hire single women with a commitment to not get married or pregnant in the future.
The situation of women workers in the small workshops is even worse. Half of the workers in the furnace factories are women who work in harsh conditions.
#LaborDay2018 arrived in Iran as the privatizing of the governmental factories and companies is still continuing without considering the rights and benefits of the workers, the reason that caused all the extensive protests during the past year.
International Workers’ Day, Declaration of nationwide support and unity to prevent the dismissal of contract workers of the Iran Petroleum Industry, on the occasion of May 1st.
On the occasion of Workers’ Day, a day which commemorates the solidarity and defense of workers rights, we the workers of the Iranian Petroleum Industry declare solidarity, support, and comradery with all of our colleagues in the industry across Iran, and are particularly asking for employment opportunities and job security guarantees.
Although we make up the majority of the 220 000 workers of the Petroleum Ministry, as contract workers we have neither job security nor a minimum wage. The majority of us have salaries that are below the absolute poverty line that economists have declared in the Iranian media. The disorganization and lack of attention to contract workers at the Petroleum Industry is such that there are no official records or statistics on contract workers for this sector. Meanwhile, statistics from official bodies show that 80% of Iran’s GDP comes from the Petroleum Industry and through its hardworking and specialized human resources.
Currently, many of our co-workers in Iilaam Province, Asaluyeh industrial zone and Gachsaran (Khuzestan province) among others, are facing dismissal, job loss, and non-renewal of contracts, despite having several years of job experience. They have made daily complaints, as well as engaging in sit-ins, and strikes. We hereby declare our support and solidarity with them and call for the realization of their rights. We will stand by and defend their given rights until their complaints have been addressed.
As daily reports of the Petroleum Industry show, due to the difficult and dangerous nature of the work, there is not a day that we do not hear of or see an accident involving the loss of life or injuries to these hardworking people. Meanwhile the minimum of their rights is not attended to, and in the end they are dismissed in the most atrocious way. This situation has led to insecurity in our lives and caused tremendous mental stress.
The government’s current strategy of outsourcing the activities of the oil, gas, and petrochemical industries to contract workers, is a means of making greater profits and revenue, while those same workers are always on the brink of job loss and dismissal. The government and the petroleum ministry, with their strategy of “divide and rule”, have both caused discrimination due to the different hiring practices, as well as a cut to salaries to minimum wage by hiring contract workers.
Faced with poverty and job insecurity and fear of dismissal has forced, these workers not to create or join labour unions as a precaution.
As a first step in defending the rights of our co-workers, and in a show of solidarity and support on the occasion of Workers’ Day, we ask for the return of all those that have been dismissed by these companies, the hiring of native human resources, and addressing the legitimate requests made by the workers. We hereby declare our support for our fellow co-workers and will continue to do so until their requests and concerns have been met.
Contract workers at the Iranian Petroleum Industry in Tehran, Abadan, Ahwaz, Bandar Abbas, Iilaam Province, Asaluyeh industrial zone and Gachsaran (Khuzestan province), Shiraz, Mazandaran, Mahshahr, Sarband, Khorramabad, Aghar-Dalan and South Zagros
30 April 2018