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Petrochemical Workers Strike Continues

6500 strong Mahshahr Bandar Imam Petrochemical complex workers began a new round of strikes following their earlier eleven-day-long strike in March. The workers had demanded the elimination of the intermediary subcontracting companies and the signing of collective contracts with the management.

Without direct contracts, the workers are denied production and efficiency bonuses as well as such bonuses as long separations, adverse work and living conditions, etc. At the same time, the sub-contractors have been routinely reaping those payment benefits for themselves.

On paper, the management has supposedly committed itself to eliminate the middle subcontracting firms for some time but its actual implementation in most facilities has yet to happen.

According to the Free Union of Iranian Workers which has been reporting on the strike since it began, on the seventh day of the strike, three oil workers were summoned to the security office and immediately put under arrest. These were Mansour Abbasi, a worker with the Khawrazmi subcontracting company and a workers’ representative; Mohammad Bagher Bagheri, worker at Fars Industries contracting company and a workers’ representative; and Jasem Bandarani, another worker at the Khawrazmi subcontracting company. The arrests followed protest rallies near the main offices of the petrochemical complex which included marches and chants.

In a meeting held with some of the main subcontractors, the general manager at the petrochemical complex, Zarifkar, threatened the striking workers. He said: “Once a worker has punched his card, he must attend to his work or he would be prevented from punching cards again”. In a separate decision, the management moved to end transportation services to workers.

The workers have vowed to intensify their protests and not to back down until their main demand is met, i.e. the elimination of the subcontracting companies.

According to the latest report from the Free Union of Iranian Workers, all three arrested workers have been released and the striking workers have vowed to continue on with their fight. The strike is now on its tenth day.

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