Iranlaborreport – The workers in Iran have continued with their protests on the issues of wage thefts, layoffs, and job insecurity in the recent weeks. The protests have varied from sit-ins and strikes to the gatherings at the offices of the president and the parliament. A report on a number of these actions follows.
Metal Industries (Tehran Zarrin Products) Unit 1 workers began their strike on May 12. The workers had not received wages of the last six months as well as those from last June and July. The plant has been operating with 20% capacity for its raw materials. On May 16, the workers hanging banners reading “We are asking for our jobs and wages”, on the plant fences, met with the representatives from the management, Islam Shahr labor office, and the security force. The workers were asked to make formal complaints and ask for the plant assets as compensations for their wages. The request was not accepted by the workers. They were then offered one month wages which was also turned down by the workers. The labor office representative called for calm and end to the strike which was met with workers anger and his early departure from the meeting.
The workers planned to remain in the compounds and prevent the management form leaving the premises after the work hours. The management promised to seek one and a half million US dollars loan approved last year from the Tehran province social security. The workers have decided to continue with their strikes.
Mobarake Steel Workers in Isfahan staged a strike, protesting their wages and the differences between the permanent and contract workers on the week of May 2. On May 8 and 9, the office workers at the central office of Mobarake also joined the strike.
Communication workers staged a protest by the parliament on May 16 asking to be paid according to the labor ministry scales. They have been working for years as contract workers for post offices, telephone, and banking services. The workers were from Azerbaijan, Lorestan, and other provinces in the country.
Laid off Sasan Soft Drink workers gathered at the Sasan offices asking for their unemployment benefits on May 10. The workers were asked to accept their termination in exchange for receiving two months wages per years worked and the unemployment benefits last winter. While the two months wages have been paid by Sasan, the unemployment benefits have not yet been paid to the laid off workers. The workers have been told that the benefits can not be paid as there have been new hiring ads announced by the company. The workers claim that Sasan has reduced its work force by 700 in the course of the last year and is now trying to hire new workers at lower wages in their places.
Alborz China workers in Qazvin province staged a sit-in to protest their wage theft of seven months and the closure of the factory on May 8. 230 contract workers were let go before the start of the Iranian new year on March 20. The 180 permanent workers are protesting the plant closure and what on average each worker is due, which is about 4 thousand US dollars.
Families of the arrested on May day gathered by Evin prison on May 5 seeking information on their loved ones. More than 30 women and men were arrested on the day, several being passers by.
Several labor activists from Khorasan Zarrin factory in Mashhad have been threatened by the intelligence ministry operatives. The workers have been threatened with expulsions and stoppage on their wages in the case of further protests. Last month the workers numbering 400 staged a protest rally asking for their four months unpaid wages. Fifteen workers have also been expelled.
Pars Wagon Retired workers in Arak staged a second protest in two months for their demands. The protesters went by the presidents office on April 28 and once more to the company premises on May 4. The retired workers each are owed more than ten to fifteen thousand US dollars. They number around 6,000 and the total dues are about six million US dollars.
More than 300 Maghsoud Porcelain workers in Mashhad staged a gathering by the company main offices at noon on May 4. They were protesting the lay offs and the unpaid back wages.
Zagros Terminal Bus workers and drivers in Ahwaz staged a strike from 8:30 a.m. to noon on April 29. The workers were protesting not receiving their wages for several months.
Farnakh Textile workers in Qazvin staged a gathering by the ministry of Industry on April 25. The workers have not received wages for seven months and their yearly bonuses. The workers numbered around 700 to 800. About 540 Mahnakh Textile workers also staged a protest between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. on April 26 protesting nonpayment of four months of back wages and their bonuses. Farnakh, Mahnakh, and Sarnakh textile factories workers have been laid off in groups recently. The manager at Mahnakh has told the workers that the equipments are to be sold, the workers laid off, and the company to be closed soon.
More than fifty Bardsir Sugar Factory workers in Kerman province staged a gathering at the gates of the factory from 8:00 a.m. to noon on April 20. The workers were protesting their layoffs and a wage theft of three years.