Iran Middle East Workers' Movement

Protests in Iran: Workers on Streets for Unpaid Wages, Women Against Misogynist Mullahs

By Socialist Middle East

The economic crisis in Iran deepens with the US embargo. When the military spending and corrupted nature of the Mullah regime combined with the embargo of the USA, the poor Iranian people are pushed into a deep misery. Workers in many sectors such as health, mining, municipality, sugar factory, automotive in Iran did not receive wages for months and are literally in need of bread. In the article last week, Fault Lines are Deepening in Iran, Ghader Anari wrote that due to poverty, families shares an apartment with other families and even some people rent rooftops and terraces overnight.

Social dynamics strengthen the labor-centered and anti-regime fault line in Iran, where large and small actions take place at the same time in a single day. While the second wave strike of the Haft Tappeh workers continues, objections around the country that strengthen the class dynamics against the regime.

One factor of this deep impoverishment is unpaid wages. Socialist Middle East compiled a chain of protest of the last week:

Haft Tappeh Continues Strike and Action

Iranian workers at the Haft Tappeh sugarcane factory entered the second week of strike action on Monday. Five thousand Haft Tappeh workers continued their actions and strikes this week and took an important place in the country’s agenda. The Haft Tappeh Sugarcane Workers’ Union members are demanding three months’ arrears of wages owed to them along with social welfare and medical insurance payments. They are also calling for the sugarcane complex to be brought back into public ownership. The complex built more than 50 years ago was privatized in 2015. As a result of the long-term struggle of the Haft Tappeh workers, the factory manager’s corruption trial began this week.

The workers of Haft-Tappeh Sugarcane Company have demanded the arrest and life in prison sentence for the CEO of the company, Omid Asadbeigi.

Asadbeigi was accused of embezzlement and smuggling massive amounts of currency by the Iranian official and his trial is ongoing.  The workers have also demanded their delayed pay checks and extending the workers’ insurance.

Youssuf Bahmani, one of the leading workers, intervened in the court and made a speech at the court. Youssuf  Bahmani made an impressive speech in front of the press with the following words:

Youssuf Bahmani

“I came here under difficult conditions by collecting each tuman from thousands of kilometers away. Haft Tappeh company is being privatized. And that is why this corruption is shown. Neither of them brought us anything but disaster. We, the workers, don’t even have the money to bring bread to our houses. We want our rights. You have imprisoned us because we went on strike. Our friends were given penalties. But despite all the corruption, the factory manager is sitting here in a suit in the courtroom. This trial process takes place thanks to the workers’ struggle. They have not operated the factory properly for 4 years, nor have  given us our  wages regulary. Haft Tappeh was a large company, a place where everyone wanted to work. We want the factory is taken from these people, our salaries and insurance are paid. There are people who are sick and have to look after.”

Also, during the week, the workers took a mass march in the city centre of Sush with the slogan “Death to Khamenei” and “All workers unite!”

You can read the details of the wave of struggle of Haft Tappeh Sugar Cane Factory workers, who continue the most important working class struggle in the Middle East.

Municipality Workers

Subcontracted workers in many municipalities in Iran have not been able to receive their wages for months. Workers in Bandar Lengeh and Bushehr municipalities have not received their wages for 4-5 months; workers in Bandar municipality are on action for overdue wages and insurance, Kut Abdullah municipal environmental cleaners are not paid since the beginning of the year. Bushehr and Bandar workers protested this week in front of city halls and asked for their wages.

Five of the Kut Abdullah workers were arrested for “disturbance of the peace” after their actions in May.

Bushehr workers called out during their strikes and marches: “How long… how long…? The owner of the company comes with a car worth several hundred million. He will buy his daughter a gift for thirty forty million. All these workers are hungry. So let the city remain in dirt. ”

320 workers from Bandar Lengeh Municipality protested overdue wages and insurance premiums that were unpaid for months.

Oil Workers

Workers held a silent protest in front of the Ministry of Petroleum for two days on June 29-30, due to unpaid wages in the oil sector, which is one of the key sectors of Iran. High rates of exploitation and precarious conditions are very common in the sector where contractual and subcontracted labour is employed intensively. Workers continue their actions for reasons such as low wages, precarity, unpaid wages, social cuts etc.

Energy Workers

A group of high voltage substation operators from the provinces of Kermanshah and Ilam held a protest rally in front of the Kermanshah Regional Electricity Authority to work with a full-time employment contract and request secure jobs.

 

Fabric Mill Workers

Rasht Iran Poplin Factory workers marched to company premises and demanded their wages and insurance to be paid since their wages have not been paid for 70 days.

Nurses Protest Precarity and Poor Working Conditions in Pandemic

On Monday, June 29, some nurses in the province of Gilan met and took action on Rasht’s Nurse Street to protest. The officials of Gilan Medical Sciences University did not keep their promise as to make them contracted workers.

Nurses in the province of Mashhad took action in front of the Courthouse to protest working with insufficient staff in unprotected and unsanitary conditions after the coronavirus hit hard. Nurses who have to work for a very long time want to reduce working hours and provide personal protection equipment. Although the Iranian state does not share any official data, it is known that many nurses and doctors have died due to coronavirus. 10 nurses were taken into custody while a nurse was injured in the action where police attacked with electric baton. The detainees were released on the same day.

Telecommunication Retirees

On Tuesday, June 30, telecommunications retirees across the country gathered in front of the Ministry of Communication (Shahid Ghandi Conference Center) in Tehran to protest low pensions and social rights losses.

Women Against Mullahs

During this week, mullahs blamed two young women riding bicycles with “seducing the people” in the press. Against the mullahs, women rode bicycle in the city centres by hanging placards on their back written “I just ride a bicycle, please don’t be aroused”. Women continue to speak out against this attack of the misogynist Iranian mullah regime.

Courtesy Socialist Middle East

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