Iran: workers' struggles in brief

cars from Khodro

The following report details recent workers' struggles in Iran, published by the International Alliance in Support of Workers in Iran (IASWI).

Submitted by Mike Harman on October 15, 2006

- According to reports by the Iran Khodro workers, the Islamic Republic of Iran’s security and armed forces, during the past two weeks, in an organized and premeditate effort, when mostly male workers were at work and their children at school and only their wives at home, raided their houses and confiscated all their satellite dishes. This organized attack on the workers’ homes in Paykanshare, located at Tehran-Karaj Boulevard, whose residents are the employees of Iran Khodro and Iran Khodro Diesel Company, caused lots of tensions for the workers and was beyond anyone’s imagination. But this attack just did not simply stop there. Soon after this operation the security forces organized another attack, this time on Akbatan residency complex, in the small community of Vavan, located two kilometers near Islamshahre, with fifty percent of its residents being the Iran Khodro workers. The police raided workers’ houses, broke the doors on the roofs and took away all the satellite dishes.

These organized attacks on the workers of Iran Khodro within the matter of few days and with just 50 kilometers vicinity, is seen by workers as an attempt to intimidate workers and their families, especially following the strike action by the Iran Khodro Diesel Company’s workers. Setting barriers and limitations and preventing the workers’ access to the overall world news and movements is an important goal that the government adopted to stop and control the growth and progression of the workers’ movements in Iran.

- According to the Mazandaran University’s student activists’ website some of the workers of “Farshe Albors” (Alborz Carpet} were held in the police custody for a while, and 60 of them were release on bond of one million Toman. Based on this reports, the workers who were arrested along with their families have been beaten up badly by the security forces. There have been new severe security measures set up over the workers’ lives, telephone lines, and the overall atmosphere of the factory.

- The workers of chintz-making factory of Tehran, following the non-payment of their wages, benefits, bonuses, and their medical insurances, called for a protest action.

One representative of workers claimed that since last year after the factory was sold to another owner and CEO, none of workers have received their wages, and the last time that they were pain wages and benefits goes back to the last MEHR (Mehr 1384- or September 2005). He also added that since last year, hundreds of workers have lost their jobs, been laid off or have been asked to resign with the severance pay.

- According to IRNA news agency, the drivers of Tabriz, and Suburb’s Bus Company, in protest to their delayed salaries, went on a three hour strike on September 28, 2006. These drivers, who were about 200, gathered at the Tabriz Bus company’s main service station and demanded to receive an immediate resolution by the company’s officials to solve the problems of their delayed salaries and other work related concerns, which they have been facing in the company. Following the promises that the company’s official made to the drivers, after the three hours’ strike, the drivers returned back to work. The transportation’s shut down, in the morning rush hours, caused lots of major chaos in the city.

- The workers of Aras “Chini-Behdashti” factory (producing hygienic Chinaware) in Tabriz once again gathered at the Labour and Technical Education Organization of the East Azarbaijan province and requested the factory’s officials, accelerate the payment of their delayed salaries, and solve the other lasting job related problems that they are having at work. These workers announced that they have gathered there several times before, but they did not receive any positive response from the factory’s officials. The workers filed a complaint against the management for non-payment of their wages for up to 8 months.

- About 100 workers of the Khoramshahr’s Sea Facilities, who were fired four months ago, have gathered at the governor’s office, and requested to receive a special investigation to solve their work related problems and their return to work.

These workers have said that after 4 months and despite the decision that the office of the Ministry of Labour made in favor of the workers to returns to their jobs, the management of the Sea Facilities have not taken any necessary actions in that regard yet.

- About 150 workers of the Penguin factory in Rasht have not been paid for 6 months. The penguin factory which produces variety of cotton products is located in the industrial city of Rasht and is in the process of moving to another location.

- Following the pursuance of the rights of workers “Zamzam Shargh” factory (East Tehran Zamzam), the management of the factory fired the representative of the workers. The factory’s management by refusing to renew and extend the company’s contract with the representative of the workers, intimidated and forced the laboratory and production line contract workers to sign a contract with them and accept to work for the company for the monthly minimum wage of 150,000 Toman (About US$162). Thus far from the total of 150 contract workers, about 50 of them, under the management’s pressure and intimidation, have signed the new contract. In past, following the conflicts and disagreements between the factory’s officials and the workers, on the issue of wage rates the factory discontinued the overtime pay, and as the result, the workers were assigned to work in three different shifts. The new contract workers have been forced to accept 500 Toman an hour for their jobs and the retried senior workers who have been called back to work for the factory earn 2,000 Toman an hour.