Iran: Workers Continue to Hold Strikes and Protests in Cities Across the Country

The second day of the protest of the Mahshahr Municipality workers
The second day of the protest of the Mahshahr Municipality workers

By Jubin Katiraie

For some time now, various groups of workers and employees have been holding strikes and protests.

At the beginning of the week, employees of the Rural Telecommunications Company from a number of different sites across the country gathered in front of the parliament building. They expressed their anger at officials for failing to acknowledge and address their numerous issues.

Some of their grievances are related to their salaries and bonuses that have been withheld, and the major discrimination with regards to paying.

The protesters have called for talks to be held between officials of the Rural Telecommunication Company and workers, but in the presence of members of parliament. They have also called for an end to the discrimination in wages that is noted between workers in urban and rural areas.

Many workers in the company have also been put on temporary contracts, denying them the job security that permanent employees have. There are calls for this to change.

The workers have also called for the payment of all overdue wages and insurance premiums. Some payment issues go back to 2009 and in some cases even before this.

Many of the employees have worked for the company for decades, yet are still working for very small salaries. They, like many people across the country, are very badly affected by the economic crisis that has caused prices and costs to skyrocket.

Other protests have been taking place across the country too. Employees from the Haft Tappeh Sugarcane Company in the city of Shush have been protesting for 85 days. They have been gathering outside the governorate building in Shush and have vowed to continue until their demands have been addressed in their entirety.

They are continuing to reiterate their demands, which include the immediate arrest of a corrupt official that has caused mayhem. The workers want to see the CEO of the Haft Tappeh Sugarcane Agro-Industrial Complex, Omid Assadbeigi, arrested and sent to jail for life on corruption charges. And they have also called for all corrupt employees to be fired.

Many workers of the factory have seen their wealth embezzled and one of the demands is to see these funds returned. And once again, like many workers across the country, they want their delayed salaries to be paid and their insurance brought up-to-date.

Also protesting delayed wages were municipals workers in Sarbandar city in the province of Khuzestan. Some are requesting more than six months’ worth of unpaid wages and outstanding bonuses and insurance premiums.

Because of the regime’s widespread corruption and its terrible mismanagement of the country’s resources the people are finding themselves up against increasing financial hardship. Furthermore, job conditions are appalling and safety is often compromised.

Only a few days ago, four people died after a mining accident in the province of Kerman. The workers were not provided with the necessary protective equipment and very few safety protocols were put in place. This type of accident occurs far too frequently in the country.

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