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Strike at Petrochemical Plant Spreads

Strike at Petrochemical Plant Spreads
Posted: April 16
The strike at Port Imam Petrochemical complex in the Persian Gulf region has spread to other petrochemical complexes in the region and has entered its fifth day. On March 19, workers at the Imam Port Petrochemical Complex staged a protest gathering to demand removal of intermediary contracting companies and the implementation of direct hiring by the complex authorities. When authorities did not meet their demands, workers set April 9 as their strike date.

On April 9, more than 2000 workers gathered by the petrochemical complex main offices in the early hours of the morning. Zarifkar, the general manager of the complex, entered into a discussion with the workers for more than 3.5 hours using a bullhorn. He maintained that no such directives have been given by the state, and the workers insisted on their demands. Zarifkar tied the direct hiring to coordination with the oil minister. The workers continued their strike in the following days.

On the fourth day of the strike, petrochemical workers from the other complexes at the Mahshahr economic zone joined the striking workers at the Port Imam complex gates. The workers from Arvand and Khuzestan petrochemical companies were prevented from entering the complex by security forces. Workers then stayed behind the gates and continued with their supporting strike. Port Imam workers saluted them with “Thank you, thank you” chants. Workers at Arvand, Bouali Sina, Tondgooyan, Khuzestan, Amir Kabir, and Razi chemicals simultaneously joined the Port Imam workers’ strike.

The Port Imam strike encompasses all repair, packaging, storage, operations including welding, turning, calibration, pump shop, jet machine, construction, paint and sandblasting, mechanics, machinery, Electrical, Instrument, PM, CM, Balance workshop, services, etc. The same situation exists at the other petrochemical companies in the zone. The workers have demanded the presence of the oil minister and the implementation of the [direct hiring] directive issued by the administration in 2005.

The strike is now in its fifth day. The workers show up early in the morning each day, and then they begin their strike with demonstrations and chantings. They continue until 5 p.m.The joint action by the workers is a welcoming sign that indicates unified action across factories in a call for the removal of intermediary contracting companies, which have been separating workers into islands. Workers are also demanding an end to the prevailing practice of short contracts, which have crippled the working class in Iran, and an engagement in direct contracts with the industries. Workers at the giant Isfahan Steel have already forced the implemenation of direct contracts, and Iran Khodro car manufacturing plant workers have made this their principal demand.

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