Isfahan’s Steel Company is and has always been one of the largest industrial complexes in Iran. Despite this, and although workers have been involved in industrial action to improve their working conditions, Iran’s Steel Company workers have never benefited from the right to form any type of trade union , workers organisation… to defend their wages and, to pursue their just rights and demands. In the current situation, as a result of severe economic hardship and the uncertain future, at a time when workers in this complex face many backbreaking pressures, as a group of workers of Steel Company we have decided to take the very first steps in the direction of defending workers right and consolidating our dispersed ranks hereby announcing the formation of the Provisional Council of Isfahan’s Steel Company Workers. Since this step (the formation of the council) was taken in conditions of underground work, it is not based upon workers’ elections. That is why the council has given itself the title “provisional” however, as a body it is committed to hold free elections with the participation of all factory workers as soon as suitable conditions arise. Until such time, this council will endeavor to defend the rights of all workers in this complex and we will keep fellow workers informed of all our decisions through statements.
The council presents its positions and views as follows:
1 – The council considers all workers equal and alike. It believes that both the obvious and hidden discriminations between official workers and workers under contract (those employed directly by the company under contract or through contractor companies) are initiated entirely by managers and decision makers and workers are not responsible for this. The Council believes that the creation of such discriminations amongst workers is a deliberate policy to divide workers in this complex.
2 – Council believes that the right to strike is an absolute right of the work force, and, in conditions where the company’s workers have not received their wages (for between two to six months) going on strike is the only means by which the workers can struggle for their demands. Therefore the council states its solidarity with courageous workers of Ehyagostaran Espadan, Nasooz Azar, Isaargarane-hadid, Nasre Bonyad and all the workers who have gone on strike to fight for the payment of their unpaid wages.
3 – The councils warns workers to be aware of the delays of official deadlines for payment of their wages and monthly bonuses, There is a possibility that management is trying to reduce or abolish monthly bonuses ; that is why workers have every right to go on hunger strike, white strike (working less and disrupting production lines) and finally strike. Such actions are just and legitimate.
4 – Council finds Plant’s policies of blaming workers for all the severe hardships they face , especially when accidents causes workers death or severe injuries leading to handicap as an inhumane policies and, declares that the main reasons for safety failures are severe working conditions for the workforce, worn off equipment, old technologies and pressure and expedition that the management imposes upon workers to increase production .
5 –At a time when the official line of poverty in urban areas is declared (by the state) to be 800 thousands Tomans, the council finds maximum income of 400 thousands Tomans per month an obvious oppression towards workers and their families and expects gradual, step by step annihilation of discriminations between official workers and reset of the work force.
6 – The council believes Privatising the Steel Company complex will have terrible effects upon the workers’ living conditions and their labour and considers the reconstruction period for privatization as definite proof that showed the effects of this policy on workers’ income and conditions; this is an experience we, Iran Steel workers are experiencing every day.
7 – Billions have been paid for expenses and hundred million Toman contracts made and spent on the Steel Company Football Team during the last few years at a time when official workers are paid with delay and rest of the workforce has incomes below the poverty line. The Council’s view is that such policies are outrageous.
8 – Council considers company’s weekly ATISHKAR as a management source use for self flattery and exaggerated claims. The claim that the company produced and supplied the railroad for the National Rail Company – is a blatant lie and every worker here is aware of it. The Council expects ATISHKAR’s content to include reports about workers’ payment conditions and their protests, covering all incidents that cause death and disability, announcing the names of workers dying at work and also monthly reports about work accidents.
9 – Due to not having aboveboard activities the council asks all workers to create their spontaneous workers nucleuses all over the Steel Company and, it believes without such units formed by workers themselves they will not have a chance develop their struggles and advance in them. Role of such units is bringing awareness, unity and solidarity among workers and electing leaders for their struggles. Such units can be formed around team of friends, recreation groups, workers welfare boxes and so forth.
Fellow workers! We shake your hands in solidarity.