Iran: Workers of Haft Tappeh sugar mill go on strike again

Protests by workers of Haft Tapeh sugar mill, Khuzestan province

Protests by workers of Haft Tappeh sugar mill, Khuzestan province

Iran, January. 11, 2019 – On Thursday, the workers of Haft Tappeh sugar mill, located in Khuzestan province’s Shush city, went on strike and demonstrated in front of the offices of the managers of the company.

The workers held a gathering at the location of the factory and declared they would not be working because the company has not paid their salaries. The workers had said that if their demands are not met, they will go on strike and return to the streets of Shush for demonstrations. Come Thursday, they began their strike as promised.

It’s worth mentioning that the Iranian regime’s prosecutor’s office had previously declared that the workers’ paychecks for the month of November would be paid on Tuesday, January 8. But the prosecutor’s office later revoked its declaration and said there would be no payment before the sugarcane harvest enters the company’s stores.

The strike is taking place following a declaration made by a group of workers of Haft Tapeh. The organizers had called on their co-workers to protest in their workplaces and to go on strike if they don’t get their two-month-overdue paychecks.

Haft Tappeh is Iran’s largest sugarcane factory and employs thousands of workers in Khuzestan.

The workers of Haft Tappeh went on a month-long strike in November, demanding the payment of their overdue salaries and the removal of the company’s private owners, whose mismanagement and corrupt policies have caused the deterioration of work conditions for the factory’s workers.

During their protests, the workers of Haft Tappeh earned the support and respect of many communities and various segments of the Iranian society. The strike of Haft Tapeh also became strongly tied to the protests by the steel workers of Ahvaz, who had been striking for similar reasons.

Fearing the strike would trigger protests in other parts of the country, the Iranian regime cracked down on the protesters, arresting several of the workers and taking them to prison. Esmail Bakhshi, one of the representatives of the workers who was arrested and imprisoned by the Iranian regime’s security forces, recently published a detailed account of the tortures he was subjected to during his incarceration.

The Iranian regime has resorted to similar measures against the steel workers of Ahvaz. But without responding to the fundamental and basic needs of the workers, the regime has only managed to buy a limited amount of time for itself. As the resurgence of the protests of Haft Tapeh sugarcane workers shows, it is only a matter of time before the flame of protests will rise from under the ashes of repression.

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