TEHRAN: Iranian authorities have arrested eight people for ‘leading’ a workers’ strike at a key gas site in the south of the country, local media reported on Sunday.

“Eight main leaders of the workers’ strike in the South Pars projects have been arrested by the intelligence services,” Akbar Pourat, the deputy local governor, was quoted as saying by Tasnim news agency.

Some 40,000 people are employed at the South Pars/North Dome mega-field, the largest known gas reserve in the world, which Iran shares with Qatar.

“Eight companies and subcontractors active in this area have been blacklisted for incitement to strike,” Pourat added. In early May, local media reported the arrest of external contractors involved in supporting strike calls in the same area.

The authorities had announced in late April that they had begun replacing 4,000 workers who were striking to demand better wages and working conditions.

However, the pro-labour news agency ILNA reported that the strikers in South Pars had “continued to assert their union demands”.

Their key calls included a “79 per cent increase in wages”, as well as ending discriminatory practices and allowing for freedom of association.

Published in Dawn, May 15th, 2023

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