Reporting by PMOI/MEK
Iran, October 8, 2021—The workers of Haft Tappeh Sugarcane Company held the eleventh consecutive day of their strike on Friday, rallying in front of the governorate office in Shush city, Khuzestan province, where the company is located, and chanting slogans against company and regime officials.
The workers are demanding their most basic rights, including payment of overdue salaries, the settlement of the company’s management, the return of their fired coworkers to the factory, the renewal of seasonal contracts, and the closure of the criminal file against the Ms. Farzaneh Zilabi, the workers’ lawyer.
The workers of Haft Tappeh have been holding protests for their rights for several years. Regime authorities have been constantly promised to solve their problems, only to refrain from holding those promises.
The workers are faced with poor working conditions. The company refrains from paying their salaries on time. They have also been protesting the embezzlement and corrupt practices of the company’s CEO, Ehsanollah Assadbeigi, a regime-linked businessman who has made a fortune during his tenure at the company at the expense of the workers. The workers’ demands have been met with ignorance, threats, and arrests. In the past years, security forces have raided the homes of protest organizers, arrested them, and tortured them in prison. Other workers have been dismissed from work for having voiced their demands.
Having received no response from the government, the workers are back in the streets to claim their rights in the only way they can.
On Thursday, more than 1,000 workers took part in the protest rally.
On Wednesday, more than 500 workers of contractor companies working in Songoun mine, Western Azarbaijan province, held the second consecutive day of their protest rallies. These workers are protesting poor work and living conditions and low wages. The workers spent the night in front of the company’s offices, where they held their protest rally.
According to the workers, conditions at the mine are very poor and they lack the minimum facilities needed for their work. The company is also refraining from hiring local workers despite severe unemployment rates in the region. Low wages and authorities’ refraining from adjusting salaries with rising inflation rates are other issues that the workers have been raising.
Across Iran, workers are protesting poverty, low wages, poor living and work standards, and lack of welfare and employment security.
State media warns about poor economic conditions
In an article titled, “The truth of Iran: a poor majority and a wealthy minority,” the state-run Aftab-e Yazd wrote, “While the poverty line has surpassed 110 million rials and the impoverished segment of the society is being crushed, there is news that recreational tours to Europe have already been overbooked for the Nowruz (March 2022).” The outlet warned about the consequences of such conditions and wrote, “Economic problems are closely tied to political issues… Businesses are in a downturn, the tablecloths of workers are getting emptier by the day… the question is, in such economic conditions, what will the outcome be?”
Another article, published in the government-run Iran newspaper, wrote, “The interests of power-wielding groups have always had a great effect on poor economic conditions. These groups have made personal gains from these conditions and are like tall walls that surround the decision-makers ad prevent others from reaching them.”