To labour organisation worldwide
Iranian oil workers are fighting for their rights again
Petrochemical workers of the Iranian Oil Industry, including workers in Khark Island and the cities of Arak, Esfahan, and Abadan have embarked on a series of protests and strikes. The Islamic Republic of Iran has adopted a policy of privatisation of these industries and revoked the workers' employment contracts with the Iranian National Oil Company (NIOC) as part of this policy. Workers' employment is under serious threat. A wave of redundancies has engulfed this industry. . The Islamic Republic's actions have included delaying tactics, a divide and rule policy and the intimidation of workers. In response, the workers have been engaged in various industrial actions over the last four weeks, including organising sit-ins, protests and strikes. On 23 November 2003 a group of workers representing four petrochemical factories paid a visit to the Islamic Republic's Assembly and warned assembly members and the Minister of Oil that they would take collective action and go on nation- wide strike if their demands were not met immediately. On 25 November, a group of workers announced that they would be going on strike next week.
You surely remember the powerful strikes of the oil workers during 1996-97, which was supported internationally by many labour and trade union organisations all over the world. Trade unions, including TUC, CGT, and others in Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Turkey, India and nearly all unions in Canada and Australia, Holland and Belgium as well as the US and other Asian countries wrote to the leaders of the Islamic regime and defended the right to strike, organisation and collective bargaining. They unequivocally expressed their support for the workers' demands for higher pay and exerted pressure on the Islamic regime to meet the workers' demands. The recollection of this magnificent support is still alive and referred to among Iranian workers.
Today, the oil workers are entering another round of struggle to face off the attacks by the employers and the Islamic government under different circumstances. Mass unemployment of millions of workers, lack of access to any unemployment benefits and any right to organisation or industrial action forms part of the gloomy state of affairs that the capitalist class and the Islamic regime have imposed on workers in Iran.
I call on you to once again support the workers' demands and struggle in the oil industry in Iran. The demands are:
* Employment security for the petrochemical
* Condemnation of compulsory redundancies by the Islamic Republic of Iran and the employers;
* The right to unemployment benefits for all unemployed workers;
* Unconditional right to strike and organisation.
Support the oil industry workers in any shape or form that you can. The victory of the petrochemical workers will be a massive victory for the working class in Iran and give the people of Iran and the rest of the working class the confidence and hope to face the Islamic regime of Iran and the employers. Send your letters of support to us to pass onto the workers.
On behalf of the Worker-communist Party of Iran
25 November 2003