As Iranian officials announced on November 22 that one month salary of Haft-Tapeh sugar factory workers has been paid, the labor union of the complex also reported that three more workers have been released from detention.
1,500 workers at the factory in Shush, the oil-rich Khuzestan province have been on strike and protesting for their unpaid wages for almost three weeks.
According to the union, one labor leader, Esmail Bakhshi is still in custody, while some media outlets claim all workers have been released. Eighteen workers were arrested November 17 but most of them were released later. Intermittent protests still continue.
Regarding wages, Gholamreza Shariatmadari, Governor of the province tweeted that one month salary of the workers "was transferred after the matter was pursued". The union has not confirmed that workers have actually been paid.
Karim Yavari, a senior official at the labor ministry has confirmed the news, adding that another monthly salary will be paid within the next two weeks. He also told local media that workers have been asked not to "allow their protests to be misused by non-labor and rancorous media"; a reference to Persian-language broadcasters and news media based abroad.
The official IRNA news agency also quoted the Governor that the owner of the factory appeared in front of a government panel in Ahvaz, the capital of the province and pledged to pay all the arrear wages as soon as possible.
Previously, Iran's judicial authorities claimed that the owner is on the run because of other legal troubles with the government.
The factory was sold to a private owner three years ago for a small down payment. Workers say that the new owner does not have the management ability to run the complex. Now, a member of parliament says the issue of the owner will be soon discussed.