Reporting by PMOI/MEK
Iran, September 19, 2019—On Wednesday, the workers of HEPCO, Iran’s largest manufacturer of industrial machinery, gathered in front of the company’s headquarters in Arak to resume their protests. The workers have been demonstrating for four consecutive days.
On Monday, Iranian security forces attacked, assaulted and arrested several of the protesting workers of HEPCO. The workers had blocked the local railway in protest to the empty promises of Iranian authorities and the regime’s lack of response to their demands. But the crackdown did not dissuade the workers from continuing their protests on the following day.
The workers of HEPCO have been regularly protesting over deteriorating work conditions at the company and the destructive policies of the private owners of the company who have been nudging the company toward bankruptcy.
HEPCO is one of several important Iranian companies that have fallen victim to the privatization policy, which kickstarted in 2006 under the decree of the regime’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei in 2006. Under Khamenei’s orde,r government-owned assets and companies were sold to private owners, most of whom are regime insiders or have very close ties to senior regime officials. In most cases, the companies were sold at a fraction of their real price and were later liquidated to fill the pockets of their new owners.
Ali Ashraf Abdollah Pouri Hosseini, the former head of the Privatization Organization, recently revealed that former regime officials used their political clout to import second-hand Chinese machinery at low prices and without paying customs, and later sold them in the market. The practice destroyed HEPCO’s share of the domestic market. Pour Hosseini himself is currently in jail on charges of embezzlement and fraud and for using the Privatization Organization to sell government assets to himself at very low prices.
Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, President-Elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) hailed the brave Hepco workers that despite the brutal suppression by the mullahs’ regime continue with their protests and strikes. She called on all Iranian people specially the youths in Arak to rise up in support of the protesting workers. Mrs. Rajavi also called on all workers’ unions, human rights and workers’ rights defenders to condemn the mullahs’ suppressive measures and support the demands of all Iranian workers particularly that of Hepco’s.
In other news, the workers of Qazvin’s counter manufacturer gathered in front of the governor’s office to protest their current work status and unpaid wages. Qazvin’s counter factory is another company that has been “privatized” in the past decade. According to the workers, since the company was sold to private owners, the number of workers has declined from 900 to 180 and the company’s production is constantly declining.
Many of the workers of the company have overdue wages that date back to 2016. Unpaid wages has become a cause of regular labor protests across Iran.
Earlier this month, the workers held several consecutive days of demonstrations to protest the company’s current status.