Reported by PMOI/MEK
Iran, Dec. 2, 2018 - On Sunday morning, the workers of Haft Tapeh sugar cane factory in Shush, Khuzestan province, returned to the streets for the 28th day to demonstrate and demand their rights. The workers, who have been on strike for four weeks, are demanding their unpaid salaries, job security, the ouster of the private owners of the company and the release of their imprisoned colleagues.
The workers of Haft Tapeh sugar cane factory in Shush, returned to the streets for the 28th day to demonstrate for their demands.
In recent days, the regime has dispatched its authorities to convince the workers to end their strike and return to work. But the workers, who have only seen unfulfilled promises from the government, spurned the regime’s representatives and have declared they will continue their strikes until their demands are met. The workers have not received their pay for months. They have also been deprived of some of their most basic rights, such as commuting and work facilities and food.
Haft Tapeh is Iran’s largest sugar mill and employs thousands of workers. Deteriorating work conditions have made the lives of the workers and their families harder.
The workers have also stressed that any negotiations with the government are predicated on the release of their imprisoned colleagues. In November, security forces cracked down on the demonstrations and arrested several of the workers of Haft Tapeh. Under the pressure of ongoing protests and the growing support for the workers across Iran, the Iranian regime was forced to release most of the jailed workers, but Esmail Bakshi, one of the leaders of the protesters, remains in jail. Last week the regime also arrested Ali Nejati, the former president of the syndicate of Haft Tapeh workers.
The Iranian regime has tried to force the workers to end their protests by issuing threats. Last week, the regime’s chief of judiciary tried to associate the workers with foreign meddling and opposition forces to cause panic and fear and to create the grounds to crack down on the protests. Shortly after, an IRGC authority declared a ban on protests in the city.
But the workers of Haft Tapeh, who have been deprived of their most basic rights for extended periods of time, take to the streets day after day because they see strikes and protests as their last and only means to reclaim their rights.
The workers of Haft Tapeh are also earning the support of different communities and associations across Iran as well as international labor and human rights organizations. The growing solidarity with the demands of the workers has become a problem for the regime.
But in the climate of nationwide protests that began last December and have continued intermittently since, the Iranian regime is afraid to use force, fearing the spark of another confrontation with the protesters that will quickly catch through surrounding cities like wildfire. In the past months, the regime’s attempts to quell protests are being met with increasing resistance by the underprivileged people of Iran.