Oil workers in Iran strike for better wages, schedules

By Seth Galinsky
May 8, 2023

Oil workers in Iran strike for better wages, schedulesContract oil workers went on strike in Iran April 15, demanding a 79% wage increase. And instead of working a debilitating 24 days on with six days off schedule, they are demanding a more humane 20 days of work followed by 10 days off. By April 24 the strike had spread to thousands of workers at 93 workplaces. Above, workers at the Jask Port oil refinery walked off the job April 22. Workers at a copper mine and a steel company also walked out. 

Most oil workers work for subcontractors and are paid less than half of what “permanent” workers receive, and get fewer benefits. 

“Regardless of where we come from in the country,” the Organizing Council of Oil Contract Workers said in a statement, “we are protesting against the growing poverty, rising prices and worsening of our working and living conditions.” 

Winning their two key demands, the union said, will strengthen the fight to “dismantle” the unjust contract system and win permanent status for all oil workers. The union also called on workers to reject attempts by the oil bosses to create divisions among the workers based on their nationality or language. Many oil workers are from Arab, Bakhtiari and other oppressed nationalities. 

While official inflation is 53%, the real rate is higher. The Supreme Labor Council, made up of government officials, bosses and government-appointed “workers representatives,” recently approved a measly 27% wage increase. Even the official workers’ representatives denounced this as inadequate.