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A Look at Workers' Protests in Iran in Last Year

Iran Focus

London, 1 May - Despite the regime's anti-labor measures, the workers were able in 2016 to have 2171 collective protests in different cities of Iran. The most important feature of rallies and protests by workers over the past year was the political slogans. The scope of the protests was so high that Guard Ashtari in reference to them told the state run ISNA news agency on February 26, 2017: "Now because of the closure of some factories and credit institutions, rallies are held that occasionally reach to 20-30 per day, and these rallies must be well managed. Because occurring of an accident in a city can have national and international repercussions. "

Labor protests of last year started with widespread and long protest of over 2,000 workers of Hormozgan aluminum factory against unpaid and in arrear salaries. Brave workers of Isfahan Polyacryl repeatedly protested the non-payment of nearly a year of their salaries and in a brave action, expelled the director from the factory, who was affiliated with the regime.

The labor protests included workers' protest of Ghou (Swan) vegetable oil, Mahabad agribusiness, Azmayesh, workers of Almas Matteh in Tabas, strike, protest of hundreds of drivers of Gol Gohar Mine in Sirjan and blocking roads with burning tires, and hundreds of others.

Another issue causing the labor protests to erupt was the arrest and imprisonment of activist workers. Also nonpayment of insurance premiums by the regime's agents to insurance companies as a result of which workers were forced to pay the cost of treatment completely out of their pocket, given their low income.

Job security and firing was another factor that was caused by the so-called privatization such as Hormozgan aluminum and Zanjan transformer factory … where the workers were instantly fired after twenty some years of work. They resisted with large scale and widespread demonstrations.

There are no statistics on the exact number of workers laid off, but some government statistics indicate that tens of thousands of workers have been dismissed from their jobs, including:

According to the head of the Chamber of Commerce of Isfahan, in the first 6 months of 2016, 15 thousand workers were fired. According to the report of the state run news agency ISNA on October 26, 2016, in Qazvin province within 6 months 4 thousand workers were fired. State run news agency ILNA quoted Deputy Minister of Mines and Mining Industries of the Ministry of Industry and Trade on August 10, 2016, said: “During the past few months 50 to 60 iron ore mine were closed and 5,000 workers became unemployed. In addition, in Shamsabad Industrial Park, from 3800 manufacturing and industrial units, the activities of 2600 of them have stopped.

According to the head of the Union of Tehran Brick Makers, half of this sector’s factories (150 factories) were closed and the other half worked with a fifth of their capacity, and work force in these units from has dropped from 30 thousand to 2 thousand people. 33% of Semnan industrial units (621 units of a total of 1792 units) are closed. 30% of the total textiles workforce were dismissed. Tasnim state run news agency wrote 7,000 industrial units were stagnant and 2,000 units were semi active.

The mullahs’ regime has destroyed all independent labor organizations and governmental organizations such as the so-called Workers' House or Islamic Councils role is to suppress the workers, not bringing up the demands of the workers.

Another difference between Iran under the rule of the Mullahs and other countries in terms of protests is that since the majority of companies and factories in Iran are in the hands of the IRGC and the government, any labor protest has a political and anti-government message.

In fact, workers emphasized on the main cause of the plunder of their rights which is the mullahs' regime, and from the May Day of last year to this year raised their protests in different ways.

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