The Islamic Republic’s security forces have reportedly arrested several workers on Saturday, March 31, at Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane Mill in city of Ahvaz, capital of oil-rich Khuzestan province, southwestern Iran.
Earlier on Thursday, five other workers were also detained.
Iran Free Trade Union (IFTU) says, following a legal complaint filed by the private owner of the mill, ten workers were detained on Saturday.
IFTU had earlier reported that the security forces have officially summoned twenty workers of the troubled agro-industrial complex.
Hassan Fazeli, Fuad Badawi, Sajid al-Katheer, Hassan al-Kathir, Mohammad Khanifar, Sa’eed Mansouri, Habib Chanani, Jassim Hamdani, Jasib Hamdani and Mahdi Thame’ei are among the detained workers, Haft Tapeh Trade Union reported.
The security forces and judicial officials have not yet commented on the reports concerning recent arrests.
However, there are reports maintaining that five more workers of the complex were also detained on last Thursday, while attending a protest assembly in front of city of Shush’ Governor offices.
Moreover, reports say that members of the board of directors of Haft Tapeh’s Labor Syndicate, Raheem Basak and Qorban Alipour have already been detained along with two of the syndicate’s activists, Karamat Pum and Issma’eil Bakhshi, on Sunday, March 18.
Meanwhile on Saturday, IFTU described the recent detentions as “deplorable” and called upon local and international labor federations to focus on the suppression of thousands of Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane Mill workers and the fact that “systematic medieval style slavery has been imposed on them”.
Moreover, IFTU has once again called upon President Hassan Rouhani to take the complex back from the private sector and end workers longstanding tribulation.
Not only the workers have not received their salaries for months and no New Year bonus, they are being subjected to legal prosecution instead of their employer being held responsible.Workers Union Statement
Nevertheless, Deputy Governor of Shush, Abdolhossein Al-Katheer told an assembly of protesting workers on Thursday that “several people, who are not among the complex’s employees, provoke the labor.”
Retaliating, the workers reminded that their only request is receiving their overdue wages and unpaid bonuses, while the private owner of the complex has not fulfilled his promises to address workers’ demands.
Six days ago, the private owner of the agro-industrial complex ordered the mill to close down, “until order and security is reinstated at the place.”
The Haft Tapeh workers have been protesting and striking for months for unpaid wages. Their union in its statement said, “Not only the workers have not received their salaries for months and no New Year bonus, they are being subjected to legal prosecution instead of their employer being held responsible”.
Labor protests across Iran have recently gained momentum, while the Islamic Republic’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has accused “enemies” of fomenting discord among Iran’s work force.
“One of the major activities of our enemies has been to create a recession and obstacles in our factories and among our groups of laborers -- particularly the big ones -- so they can provoke the workers,” Khamenei said in one of his shortest speeches ever, addressing the Congress Of 14,000 Martyred Laborers on February 5.
Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane mill is the only sugar cane factory in Iran and was built nearly half a century ago during the reign of last Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. The agro-industrial complex was always lucrative until the Islamic Republic decided to sell it to the private sector in a murky situation.
The Haft Tapeh workers have been protesting and striking for months for unpaid wages. “Not only the workers have not received their salaries for months and no New Year bonus, they are being subjected to legal prosecution instead of their employer being held responsible,” their officially unrecognized union insisted in a recent statement.