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Poverty and unpaid wages trigger protests in Iranian cities

Protests by workers of Haft Tapeh, Khuzestan province
Protests by workers of Haft Tapeh, Khuzestan province

Reporting by PMOI/MEK

Iran, June 25, 2020—For the tenth consecutive day on Wednesday, the workers of the Haft Tappeh Sugar Cane Company, Khuzestan province, continued their strike and held a rally in at the company’s premises. They held banners that read “Haft Tappeh workers, unite, unite!”

In the past year, the workers of Haft Tapeh have held strikes and demonstrations on several occasions in protest to poor working conditions and unpaid wages. In 2018, they held a strike that lasted several weeks and gained widespread support inside Iran and among labor communities across the world. The regime, however, responded to the demands of the workers by cracking down on their protests and arresting and torturing the organizers of the strike.

During the same period, authorities promised to address the grievances of the workers, promises that have yet to be fulfilled.

Azarab workers sentenced to prison, lashes

Protests by workers of Azarab Factory, Arak

Protests by workers of Azarab Factory, Arak

 

The Branch 106 of Arak Criminal Court sentenced on June 15, 2020, 42 workers of the Azarab factory workers to a year of imprisonment and 74 lashes. In the Arak court ruling all the workers that protested against not receiving their basic demands and salaries, are charged with “Disrupting public order by creating noise and controversy and blocking the streets and railways ... and chanting slogans against officials ... " These workers had also participated in last year's protests. They were also sentenced to one month of free public service for three hours on the railway in Arak. Workers of Azarab factory and Hepco factory in Arak have held protest rallies several times over the past year to protest the unpaid salaries and the transfer of these companies to the private sector. In some of these protests, railways were blocked and regime suppressive forces attacked the protesters.

Hepco, once touted as the biggest manufacturer of industrial equipment in the Middle East, has been degraded to a shadow of its past, shutting down most of its sections and operations and firing most of its workers under the command of private owners with ties to the regime.

Protests by workers of Sirjan Copper Mine Factory

Sirjan copper mines

Sirjan copper mines

 

On Tuesday, June 23, the workers of the Copper Mine factory of Sirjan, which is part of the Pension Fund of Foulad, continued their protest in front of the Sirjan Labor Office. The workers protested unpaid wages for two months, the incomplete implementation of the job classification plan, and other demands in front of the Labor Office.

The workers' protests are while the majority of the people live under the poverty line.

Extreme poverty in Tehran

Ali Nozaripour, the mayor of district 22 of Tehran, said “The rent of sleeping a night under the roof has been increased from 250,000 to 500,000 rials.

The state-run daily Sharq wrote on Wednesday, June 24: “In September 2017, the former Minister of Roads and Urban Development announced that 19 million people (8 million people in distressed urban areas and 11 million people on the outskirts of cities) were suffering from bad housing. This statistic dates back to the compilation of the comprehensive housing plan in 2014. Following the decline in household purchasing power and livelihoods, many experts believe that marginalization and bad housing in the country has reached more than 19 million. "