Human Rights, Solidarity with Workers

April 12, 2011: A New Escalation in the Strike at Bandar Imam Petrochemical Complex

Iranian oil workers on strike, October 1978

The workers’ strikes at the Bandar Imam petrochemical complex in Mahshahr, Iran continued yesterday; however, a new and interesting development has unfolded: workers from other sectors within the Petrochemical Special Economic Zone in Mahshahr left their own factories to come together in front of the Bandar Imam petrochemical complex to join the 2,000 workers already on strike and physically show their support. The Free Union of Iranian Workers reports that this escalation in the strike happened yesterday morning.

The workers from other sectors who marched to support the Bandar Imam petrochemical workers were confronted on arrival by security forces who tried to prevent the newcomers from joining the strikers inside the complex. The workers from other factories, with their placards and posters already in hand proclaiming their demands, gathered outside the fences of Bandar Imam factory and raised those demands: demands for workers’ rights, demands for their wages. From inside the complex, the petrochemical strikers answered the newcomers by chanting their gratitude: “Thank you! Thank you!”

According to the latest news from the Free Union of Iranian Workers, the security staff of the Bandar Imam petrochemical compound has been supplied with firearms. The employers, among them the head of National Iranian Petrochemical Company (government-owned) who is at the same time the Deputy Minister of Industry, have hastily flown to Mahshahr to try to manage the situation.

Despite the best efforts of the government and the workers’ employer, this strike continues to gain momentum and is becoming stronger and stronger as it continues.

The Free Union of Iranian Workers sends its salute to workers and warns the security forces at the Bandar Imam complex against any attempt to suppress the striking workers.

Translation & summary: Ahmad Fatemi

VIDEO: One participant who filmed the procession to Bandar Imam with his mobile phone explained the movement as follows: “We are on our way to get our rights. This is a march to get our rights, what belongs to us”:

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