Belgian Lawmakers Urge Labor Organization to Stand With Iran’s Risen Oil Workers

Written by
Sedighe Shahrokhi

The Belgian Committee of Parliamentarians and Mayors for a Democratic Iran in a letter to the Belgium Labour Federation expressed its solidarity with the Iranian oil and petrochemical workers who are on strike. They also urged the Labour Federation to stand with the Iranian workers and support their righteous demands.

The Belgian lawmakers also condemned the Iranian regime’s ongoing human rights violations and executions.

Thursday, August 13, marked the 13th day of a strike by tens of thousands of Iran’s oil, gas, and petrochemical workers and employees. These strikes are taking place in 51 locations in the provinces of Isfahan, Ardabil, East Azerbaijan, West Azerbaijan, Ilam, Bushehr, Khorasan Razavi, Khuzestan, Fars, Sistan and Baluchistan, Markazi and Hormozgan. The striking workers are enduring intolerable working conditions in extreme heat and challenging living conditions. They do not have job security because they have been forced to sign temporary contracts. Nor are they covered by health insurance, nor do they receive pensions. The employers can fire them at any time. Their wages are many times lower than the poverty line, and even these meager wages have not been paid for several months.

The full text of the Belgian lawmakers’ letter is below:

Oil, gas, petrochemical workers strikes in 12 provinces enter entered its twelfth day.

Dear Representative of Belgium Labour federation,

The Iranian authorities after China maintain highest execution rate according Amnesty International and Iranian Opposition. More than 160 people have been executed in Iran this year, including some who were minors and workers.

Mustafa Salehi, a construction worker, was executed on August 5 this year; he was arrested during the protests of 2017-2018 against the increase in fuel prices.

Iranian workers have never been under such pressure during four decades of the mullahs’ rule, and they have never experienced such an unbearable situation. Because this year, they also face another enemy called the Covid19, and they have to fight empty-handed on both fronts.

More than 96 percent of workers without any insurance, work under the daily-paid bases and are under no coverage. “If a worker does not work during the day, he will have no salary and no money for dinner,” said the regime’s President Hassan Rouhani, justifying the abolition of quarantine and forcing workers back to work. They do not enjoy the minimum safety standards in factories and workshops and do not have the right to protest. Each protest is responded to with imprisonment, torture, or at the very least, layoffs.

The nationwide strike of oil, gas, and petrochemical workers and employees continued in 20 cities in 12 provinces because of unpaid salaries. Workers and employees of 44 refineries, companies, and factories affiliated with the oil, gas, and petrochemical industry in Isfahan, Ardabil, West Azerbaijan, East

Azerbaijan, Ilam, Bushehr, Khorasan Razavi, Khuzestan, Fars, Sistan and Baluchestan, Central, and Hormozgan are on strike. More and more workers and employees of companies and refineries are joining the strike every day.

At the same time, on their 55th day of the strike, the workers of Haft Tappeh Sugarcane Industrial Complex rallied in the city of Shush, today, and announced that they would continue to pursue their demands, including the dismissal of a regime-affiliated official who took over the complex under the pretext of privatizing the company.

We urge the International Labor Organization and trade unions in Belgium to support:

the continuation of the workers’ strike to achieve their rights

the release of all arrested workers

the abolition of inhumane punishments against workers.

to condemn the anti-labor regime’s in Iran.

Best regards,

Belgian Committee of Parliamentarians and Mayors for a Democratic Iran

Dirk Claes, Président du comité, Sénateur et Echevin honoraire, Pierre Galand, Sénateur honoraire et Président de l’OMCT Europe Serge De Patoul, Député et Echevin honoraire


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