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Sugar Mill Workers Again Resort to Protests For Unpaid Wages

File photo - Haft Tapeh workers protesting in November 2018.

The labor union at Iran’s Haft Tapeh Sugar Mill announced that 1,000 workers gathered on November 13 to protest and demand their unpaid wages. The protest was held at Bazaar of the town.

The industrial complex is in the southwestern oil-rich region of Iran near Shush and its workers have been on intermittent strikes and holding protests for the past one year.

The enterprise was privatized in a murky deal a few years ago and since then conditions at the sugar mill have deteriorated, with the new owners unable to run the plant efficiently, failed to make investments and pay regular wages.

The workers also demand the privatization deal to be scrapped and for the government to take back control.

In November and December 2018, dozens of workers and activists were arrested at Haft Tapeh and two leading figures alleged torture in prison. They were kept in prison until October, when they were unexpectedly released.

One worker told Iran’s ILNA news website that if their demands are not met, they will continue their protests. At least two months of wages are pending, according to the labor union.

Labor unrest has been frequent in Iran in the last two years, as the economy has deteriorated and private owners who relied on cheap credit from government banks have failed to keep businesses profitable.