A few important points
– Given the fact that our strike is spreading fast and workers from other sections are joining this strike, and the support and solidarity we have received, we are in a good position to win important parts of our demands. With our widespread strikes so far, there is heavy pressure on the plundering contractors, and we have reached a situation where it is in their interests to end the strike soon.
– It is clear that we need to make some decisions about the results of the strike, how to achieve our demands and under what conditions we are going to negotiate. However we must avoid any hasty decisions and avoid early negotiations.
– The main dangers threatening our nationwide strike are the possibility that the enemy will create divisions amongst the workers and lack of clarity regarding our plan of action. Employers and officials will try their best to create divisions amongst the workers, accepting the minimum demands from some workers and urging them to return to work, then forcing the rest of us to go back to work. We need to be vigilant against such plots.
– The way the administrators of the Telegram Groups ‘Kariabi Piping’ and ‘Arkan seh’ channels address the workers is like the way a commander would address soldiers, they give orders and forbid us to take this or other action, and clearly they are happy to accept minimum concessions and the end of the strike. That is why their campaign was a campaign to evacuate work places. They say have fun with your family and we are here and trust in us. Wherever there is a protest or a rally, they stand against it and create a security ‘incident’. Workers need to know that the time for trusting others is over. We have to decide for ourselves. Such groups want to control everything and label anyone who says something different as divisive or worse. We have to say clearly: we don’t need self-appointed representatives. Representatives of each section should be our elected representatives and we must be involved in every level of decision making.
– Considering the fact that workers on strike in Asaluyeh and Kangan have left their camps, it is impossible to elect a representative or group of representatives tasked to negotiate with employers in those locations. In these areas, we should establish our telegram groups as soon as possible and elect our representatives. This is our right. Gathering in a group and talking about our demands and choosing our genuine representatives is not controversial.
– One solution to maintain unity is to determine a single set of national demands so that once there are negotiations we don’t consent to less than those demands and be a role model for other sections. Meanwhile, right now as a first step, we must put pressure on the employers to state their stance regarding workers’ demands with complete transparency and in a written public format (as stated in the 5th statement of our Organisational Council). On that basis, we too will announce our collective decision.
– We don’t accept secret negotiations held behind closed doors, such negotiations ignore workers. Decisions made between negotiators, employers and contractors will only be recognised if the workforce are notified and approve them.
– The first negotiations or agreements that will probably take place between workers and employers in several contracting companies are important and can be the basis for negotiations with other companies. So we have to be careful about this, because once these first agreements are signed and workers in these companies return to work the goals of the strike will be determined for the rest of the workforce. It is very important that we take the initiative in these cases and try to make sure our initial and immediate demands are clear and form the basis of negotiations with contractors.
– Our demands are:
- wage increases based on our suggested figures for different levels of skilled workers: no worker should be paid less than 12 million tomans (2000 pounds), workers should have permanent work contracts and job security, and wages should be paid on-time each month
- the work environment should be safe and workplaces as well as workers’ dormitories should be air conditioned, we call for substantial improvement of the conditions of workers dormitories, restrooms and bathrooms, and allocation of suitable food
- creation of medical facilities in workplaces as well as free health insurance for workers
- our main demand is an end to contract employment and the abolition of special economic zones where employers can impose their own rules. By fighting for our demands we can reduce the power of contractors and declare that from today the government must oversee the implementation of all agreements that are decided in negotiations with employers.
– The local protest organising council must channel the discussions regarding negotiations with the employers. Send your demands and ideas to the local organising councils, introduce them to your friends and become a member. At the same time, create your networks wherever you can so that we can regularly think about how to progress our protests.
We would like to thank all the workers, organisations and people who have supported our protests and demands. Our urgent duty is to cooperate with any group and institution that backs the interests of the striking workers. Our emphasis is on unity and solidarity of labour. Hoping for victory,
The Council of Organising the Protests of Oil Workers
Tir 17, 1400 (July 8th, 2021)