Friday , 18 September 2020

Strikes Break Out in Iran’s Critical Oil Industry Amid Continuing Labor Unrest

CHRI —With workers in Iran’s critical oil refining, petrochemicals and drilling industries striking in southern Iran over working conditions and unpaid wages since July 31, and sugar mill workers in Khuzestan Province protesting unpaid wages since June 13, the plight of Iran’s workers continues to prompt unrest in the country.

Workers in Iran are among the Middle East’s most educated, but they face widespread rights violations and discriminatory practices. The breadth and severity of these abuses are highlighted in a new Labor Fact Sheet by the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).

While workers in sectors throughout the country have been protesting abuses for decades, deteriorating economic conditions due to economic mismanagement and sanctions suggest the unrest that has racked Iran in recent years may intensify.

Download the CHRI Labor Fact Sheet here

Among the key points highlighted:

  • Independent unions are not recognized
  • Labor leaders are imprisoned for their peaceful activism
  • Child labor and exploitation of migrant workers is widespread
  • Workplaces are not safe; fatal work accidents in Iran are 8X world average
  • One in three workers has no insurance, remainder are often under-insured
  • Vast majority of workers employed under temporary contracts without security or benefits
  • Workplace discrimination against women, minorities and people with disabilities is rife
  • One out of three workers are employed in the informal sector with no protections

In addition to wages that are often below fair wage levels, workers face a chronic problem of unpaid wages—often for months. Without independent unions that can advocate for them, workers and their families often have little effective remedy.

With annual inflation estimated at 40% by the World Bank in 2019 (for some sectors it is much higher) and an unemployment rate of 11% (youth unemployment meanwhile is at 27%), economic grievances are set to increase in Iran.