Monday 3 October 2011

Detained workers released as strike by thousands of petrochemical workers in Iran enters its ninth day

The strike by 6,500 petrochemical workers in Iran’s southern city of Mahshahr has entered its ninth day. The workers are demanding that the management honour the pledge made at the end of their great strike in April this year, namely elimination of contracting companies as intermediaries and introduction of direct employment contracts within three months following the strike. The workers took strike action as the company reneged on the deal even after a two-month extension granted by the workers, which expired on 22 September.

Meanwhile, according to the Free Union of Iranian Workers, two workers’ reps and another worker who were arrested on Saturday and detained by the Intelligence Ministry have been released. Mohammad Bagher Bagheri, Mansoor Abbasi and Jasem Badrani were told on Sunday that they may be recalled to the Intelligence Ministry for questioning at a later time.

Taking part in the strike since Sunday 25 September have been the workers of four companies of the Petrochemical Complex, namely Bandar Imam, Arvand, Amirkabir and Tondguyan, all based in the Special Economic Zone of Mahshahr. There have been daily rallies in the square facing the headquarters of the petrochemical company. In the protest gathering on Saturday the workers also demanded the release of their three detained colleagues.

The united strike of the petrochemical workers is a strong challenge to the Islamic Republic, and can provide a great impetus for a resurgence in worker struggles across all industries in Iran.

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