Nearly one hundred workers of the steel mill in city of Ardabil ended their hunger strike after receiving the first instalment of their unpaid salaries.
The workers were laid off after a work force reorganization and reduction scheme was implemented at their plant.
In protest, and while demanding their unpaid salaries, they assembled in Mirza Ali Akbar mosque and went on hunger strike, on Thursday, July 13.
Ardabil’s Prosecutor-General, Nasser Atabati confirmed the reports on the workers hunger strike and told Tasnim News Agency, “The total amount of the workers’ unpaid salaries is nearly 30 billion rials (roughly $920,000).”
Atabati, who was present at Mirza Ali Akbar mosque, also noted, “The condition of some of the workers on hunger strike was so serious that ambulances and emergency medics were called in.”
Earlier, it was reported that one of the workers on hunger strike went into coma before the emergency ambulance came and transferred him to the hospital.
According to Atabati, workers are going to receive their unpaid salaries in three installments.
“The first instalment, 8,500 million rials (roughly $444,444) has now been paid and the protesting workers have ended their hunger strike.”
The steel mill “was launched by private sector,” the Governor-General of Ardabil Majid Khodabakhsh said, adding, “but it was later let to a contractor.”
Soon, the contractor decided to reduce its labor force and laid off about one hundred of the workers, without paying their delayed salary.
Long before the hunger strike, on Tuesday, February 17, government authorities had warned the plant’s CEO that if the company did not pay salary to its employees, the factory would be taken over by the Saderat Bank.
This was not the first time that workers in Iran have been forced to go on hunger strike, demanding their unpaid salaries. Workers’ protests around Iran have recently become almost a daily routine.
Meanwhile, Tehran’s daily Ebtekar on last Thursday, July 13 emphasized that Iran’s 11 million strong labor force, while deprived of having suitable insurance, is suffering from an acute low level of income, even much less than the minimum wage set by the government.
“The only way out of Iran’s poverty-stricken society of workers is increasing their salaries, up to 20%-25%.