Iran: Continued protests and strikes by oil and gas sector workers

Reporting by PMOI/MEK

Iran, July 8, 2021—Protests over economic conditions and power outages continue in different cities across Iran. On Thursday, oil, gas, and petrochemical workers held the twentieth day of their strike. Workers from five new companies joined the strike on Thursday, including the Oil Design & Construction Company (ODCC) in Abadan, Pisa in Iranshahr, Behdad Madan Pasargad in Isfahan, and Darya Sahel in Qeshm.

On Wednesday, a group of dismissed workers of the Abadan petrochemical company held a rally in front of the city’s governorate, protesting the government’s refusal to enforce labor law that would ensure their job security.

The strikes began on June 19, on the morrow of the regime’s sham presidential election. The striking workers are demanding better wages and working conditions as they are facing increasing pressure as a result of a declining economy caused from government corruption and the regime’s poor response to the Covid-19 outbreak.

The worsening economic conditions have caused rampant inflation a rise in the prices of goods. Meanwhile, like many other sectors of the Iranian economy, oil and petrochemical workers have seen no significant increase in their wages, and they are struggling to provide the most basic needs of their families.

The protesters stressed that they will continue their strike and will further expand them if their demands are not met.

Since the beginning of the strike, the strike has spread to more than 100 oil, gas, and petrochemical companies across Iran have joined the strike, and their movement is gaining momentum with every passing day.

Regime officials are acknowledging the large gap between people’s income and the skyrocketing inflation rates.

According to a report by the state-run Javan newspaper, Faramarz Tofighi, the head of the salary committee of the Supreme Labor Council, said on Thursday, “We think we can’t decide for the next year. For instance, we can’t say that inflation is 40 percent in 2020 and plan for 2021 based on this rate because inflation might rise to 60 percent in the next year.”

Tofighi further said, “If a worker gets all of his salary, it will be 42 million rials, which is still 50 million short of the costs of living, a very large amount.”

Meanwhile, other officials are warning about the rising prices of basic goods and how it is affecting the lives of Iranian families.

According to Javan, Ali Ehsani Zafari, the chief executive the Dairy Products Union, the growing prices of dairy products is resulting in the reduction of consumption among families. “The expensiveness of dairy products is shrinking the food tables of families and reducing consumption, and the only solution is to deliver cash handouts,” Zafari said.

Zafari added that in 2010, the removal of dairy products from the cash handout package has resulted in the reduction of dairy products from 130 kilograms to 60 kilograms. Zafari added that at the time the decision was made without expert review and research, and the growing price of dairy products is “shrinking the tables of 85 million Iranians.”

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