Workers at an oil plant in southern Iran

Iran Official Threatens Replacing Thousands Of Striking Workers

Friday, 04/28/2023

Four thousand striking energy workers in Iran are being replaced, a government official said Friday, as strikes that began last week spread to dozens of plants.

Sekhavat Asadi, the general manager of special Pars energy region on the Persian Gulf, including many natural gas and petrochemical operation told the official government IRNA news agency that striking workers “will be replaced by 4,000 new workers.” He added that the process already started on Thursday.

Workers in more than 80 companies, including steel workers, across the country joined industrial action, protesting poor working conditions, low wages and rising costs of living, the Council for Organizing Oil Contract-Workers' Protests said April 25.

In recent years, as the Iranian National Oil Company has ceded many operations to quasi-private companies, most of the work is done by temporary contract workers with little pay and no benefits.

The so-called private companies are controlled by military or other state entities, or by well-connected regime insiders who quash labor demands by using government security forces.

Asadi claimed that the strikes are being organized by anti-regime groups, a charge the Islamic Republic often makes to de-legitimize the demands of the workers who earn less than $200 a month.

At the same time he also claimed that “We had no strikes and protests in the petrochemical and gas sectors in recent days and all plants are working with full capacity.”

However, various reports by local media and labor groups indicate widespread strikes in the region.

Workers are demanding a 79-percent pay increase, on-time payment of wages and living amenities.

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