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Strike by steel workers in Ahvaz enters 11th day

Reported by PMOI/MEK

 

Iran, Nov. 20, 2018 - [Updated at 16:30 CET] On Tuesday, hundreds of workers from the Iran National Steel Industry Group in Ahvaz gathered in front of government offices and chanted slogans in protest to unpaid wages and poor working conditions. Today marks the 11th day of their strike and protests, which is happening in parallel to other similar protests in the oil-rich Khuzestan province and elsewhere in Iran.

Like numerous other workers across Iran, the workers of the Ahvaz steel factory have not received their wages for several months. They also lack job security and are met with suppression when they voice their demands. They have gone on strike and staged protests several times in the past months.

On Tuesday, the protesters were chanting, “We will not give in to disgrace,” a sign that they will continue their protests until they meet their demands.

 

 

According to reports by the Free Union of Iran’s Workers, on Tuesday, the Iranian regime deployed Special Forces and police units along with many plain-clothes agents at the factory under the pretext of securing the area for a visit by the governor and other regime officials. Security forces tried to prevent workers from leaving the factory to resume their protests, but the workers resisted and forced the security forces to back down. They left the factory and headed for the governor’s office to have their voices heard in the streets.

The protesters of Ahvaz steel company have garnered the support of the workers of the Haft Tapeh sugar cane company in Shush, also in Khuzestan, who have also been protesting against unpaid wages and poor working conditions for several weeks. The two groups of protesters have found solidarity in their common cause and have been voicing support for each other in previous days.

The Iranian regime has tried to quell the demonstrations by arresting several protesters in recent days. But the workers, who are under the pressure of deteriorating working conditions, are defying the risks to their lives and continue to come to the streets day after day. The movement of the workers has garnered support from other communities in their locale. Merchants, teachers, students and other citizens of Ahvaz and Shush joined the demonstrations of the workers of Ahvaz steel factory and the Haft Tapeh sugar cane mill in recent days.

12:30pm local time: The workers of Ahvaz steel company are marching toward the city center. In their path, the workers stopped in front of the governor’s office and reiterated their demands in speeches. One of the workers said, “We’re tired of talk therapy. We want concrete actions.”

In their demonstrations, the workers are chanting, “Inflation, high prices, answer Rouhani!”

The workers are also stressing that as long as regime officials continue to lie and renege on their promises, the workers will continue their protests. “We, the workers of Ahvaz, we will fight against tyranny,” the protesters are chanting.

The protesters are blaming the local and national government authorities for the current economic situation. “Neither the governor nor the government care about the people,” their slogans include.

 

 

2:00pm local time: After 11 days of non-stop protests, a representative of the government, the manager of unemployment insurance of Khuzestan, went to speak with the workers of Ahvaz steel company and respond to their needs.

The workers told this regime official that they will not listen to empty words. “We want to feed our families,” the workers said. “What you’re telling us doesn’t put food on the table. We are workers. Why is your TV station calling us thugs? We’re not here to take donations. We want our salaries and rights and until we obtain them, we will continue.”

In other videos obtained from demonstrations, the workers of Ahvaz steel company are chanting, “Let go of Syria, think about us.” The Iranian regime spends billions of dollars on foreign wars and meddling in other countries. People across Iran are criticizing the regime for paying for its foreign ventures out of their pockets.

 

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