Several workers in an industrial complex in the Southwest of Iran have been arrested or summoned for questioning following their protests against the management and privatization. In Tehran, some of those who were arrested in May Day demonstration are still in Prison.
Another Strike in Haft-Tappeh
On 9 may 2019, local sugarcane workers in southwest of Iran went on a strike. According to the Haft Tappeh Independent Labor Union, following the protest, at least 21 workers were arrested and summoned for questioning.
The employer of Haft Tappeh Sugarcane Complex has not paid the overdue wages of the workers for several months.
On their latest strike, the Haft Tappeh workers demanded payment of their overdue wages and health insurance benefits. They also called for the release of the jailed workers including labor activist, Esmail Bakhshi. Workers protested the privatization process and demanded the return of a sacked manager, who they view as a supporter of their rights.
In the new wave of pressure on the Haft Tappeh workers, 10 workers were arrested and local security officials summoned another 15.
Haft Tappeh Independent Labor Union has since affirmed the release of four prisoners. However, Hossein Ansari, Feisal Taalebi, Esmail Jaaveleh, Adel Samaaei and Rostam Abdullahzadeh are among those who have been transferred to a prison in the city of Dezful.
The Haft Tappeh workers have not been paid their wages frequently in recent months; therefore, since October 2018, the workers have been protesting in the southern cities of Shush and Ahvaz.
Esmail Bakhshi, one of workers’ representatives in Haft Tappeh Independent Labor Union, served as the public face of the protests. The protests led to a wave of arrests and Iranian government launched a major crackdown on the labor rights activists and workers. Esmail Bakhshi, Sepideh Gholian- a 23-year female labor rights activist and citizen journalist – were among those who were arrested.
May Day Prisoners
Iranian authorities have been dealing with widespread labor protests across the country with workers demanding job security and payment of their delayed wages.
Human Rights Watch, an international human rights advocacy organization reported on Wednesday that at least eight activists and journalists are still in Prison following Labor Day protest on May 1, 2019.
“The authorities should immediately and unconditionally release all those detained for exercising their rights to peaceful assembly”, Human Rights Watch said.
In Labor Day protests, security forces attacked protesters in front of the Iranian Parliament and arrested more than 35 protesters including labor rights activists and journalists.
Hassan Saeedi, a member of the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company, Marzieh Amiri, a journalist at Shargh Daily, and Keyvan Samimi, the chief editor at Iran Farda monthly magazine are among those arrested on May Day.