The Iranian working class has pushed its struggles to a higher level in the past few years. There have been several united strikes by the workers in different sectors of industry. The most recent strike took place in the city of Mahshahr and continued for three weeks. Six thousand five hundred workers of Petrochemical Complex in Mahshahr went on a united strike. Among their demands were the elimination of intermediary contractors between the workers and the Complex, the elimination of signing temporary and individual contracts with workers, and its replacement with signing official and direct and collective contracts with the Company.
The regime of the Islamic Republic used every effort to suppress and break the strike. The security forces of the regime arrested three representatives of the strikers, but the workers marched forward. The employers offered false promises, but no one listened to them. This section of the Iranian working class was on strike in April of this year for the same demands. The employers officially agreed in April that the demands would be met within three months. But the Petrochemical Complex violated the agreement and continued signing temporary and individual contracts with the workers. This time, the workers of Mahshar Petrochemical Complex went on strike, stronger and more prepared. They formed “Strike Committee” and “Strike Fund” to better organise their united strike. They issued several statements and reported their activities to the media. One such press release read:
“We have come to the conclusion that without forming organisation and having coordination we will not achieve any gains. Even if the strike achieves some gains, the gains would not be maintainable without the formation of workers’ organisation. Therefore, we established the Strike Committee as the first step, and we are seeking domestic and international solidarity. We must mention that the Committee has already set a ‘Strike Fund’ to support the workers on strike.”
The Party of Labour of Iran (Toufan) hails the glorious struggles of Mahshahr workers. We sent our greetings to the striking workers.
The regime of the Islamic Republic has created harsh economic conditions for the workers and labourers of Iran. There have been many strikes and protests by different sectors of the work force demanding the payment of delayed wages, wage increases, better working conditions, freedom to form independent trade unions, etc. Many worker-activists have been imprisoned and tortured for their attempts to form syndicates. In industry, signing temporary contracts with intermediaries is a policy adopted by employers and supported by the regime of the Islamic Republic to further exploit the workers. This policy stems from neo-liberal policies of World Trade Organization and is dictated to the member parties. This is a common problem for the workers in different sectors of industry.
The workers of Iran, with permanent and formal contracts or with temporary and intermediary contracts, are reaching the conclusion that they have a common interest in eliminating the problem.
Another general demand of the workers is the formation of independent trade unions. The formation of any independent trade syndicate is a nightmare for the regime of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The regime knows that the unity of workers is a mortal threat to its existence. This is why the regime has tried to suffocate any movement towards the formation of trade unions. In spite of this suppression, the persistence and tireless efforts of the activists have resulted in the establishment of unions in some sections of the labour force, and there are strong desires and attempts to form syndicates in other sections.
The Party of Labour of Iran (Toufan) strongly encourages all workers to express solidarity with the struggles of their comrades in any sector of the work force. The demands of one sector of the working class are common demands of all workers and labourers. The gains achieved by one sector of the working class are gains for all workers. The final victory for the working class will be manifest in its unity under the banner of the Party. This is the only path for the working class to emancipate itself from the slavery of capitalism.
The Party of Labour of Iran (Toufan), International Relations
October 13, 2011