Repression of tyre factory strike in Iran, workers abducted

Kian Tire workers

Following three days of strike action at a tyre factory in northern Iran, Iranian security forces broke into the plant on Saturday and abducted at least 1,000 striking workers.

The workers had been on strike at the Kian Tire Factory in the Alborz region of northern Iran since last Thursday, demanding the payment of unpaid wages. On Saturday evening, security forces entered the plant using bulldozers to tear down walls, and arrested around 1,000 workers.

Several men evaded capture, making their escape through a sewer system, and managed to telephone a report to a local radio station. The location of the arrested workers is unknown, although those who escaped saw men led out of the factory and bundled into awaiting coaches, which they say were heading in the direction of Karaj, about 12 miles west of Tehran. Several workers were seen to have been badly beaten during the raid.

The strike was the latest event in a long-running conflict over the non-payment of wages and poor working conditions at the plant.

At least two strikes occurred in February, during which workers burned tyres in the yard of the factory after the main gate had been blocked by security forces. Similar scenes took place last week as workers created roadblocks of burning tyres on a highway near Tehran. Security forces were again called out on this occasion and attacked workers, who fought back using sticks and stones, while being supported by sympathetic local residents and youths. Kian Tire workers have not been paid for five months.