Aug and Sept 2019 for workers and workers’ rights defenders in Iran was marked by more severe repression, unpaid wages and long prison terms for those workers who have been arrested after protests.
Zamaneh Media’s bi-monthly labor report which covers events in the approximate range of August-September 2019 is out and it covers issues related to repression of workers’ protests, unpaid wages in various sectors, the collective trial of labor prisoners, national security charges against workers and harsh long term sentences for arrested workers and farmers.
You can download the reports from here:
Despite the security crackdown of workers protests across Iran, Hepco and AzarAb workers in Arak began a new round of protests in late August, after nearly a year of silence.
In 2017 and 2018, Hepco workers had engaged in protests for days. Following the protests, the Central Provincial Prosecutor’s Office announced charges against several workers. Ali Rabi’i, then minister of Cooperatives, Labor and Social Welfare, traveled to Markazi province to mediate the problems of Hepco and AzarAb workers, promising to resolve the issues with government measures. Two years later, however, the government promises are still unfulfilled.
Wages not being paid is still a major issue faced by many workers. According to a report, by the end of June this year, 1,193 firms across Iran are delaying wages and 130,413 workers have not been paid for several months.
From late June to mid-July, workers from industrial units, municipalities, railways, the oil and gas industry and retirees from all the aforementioned sectors held rallies and protests in various parts of Iran mostly due to unpaid wages and benefits. Other demands were the timely payment of wages, the return of the expelled workers to their job, the increase in pensions and efficient insurance.
The authorities in Iran still stand with production management and private-sector owners of factories. The head of the judiciary, Ebrahim Raisi, defended the factory owners who delayed workers’ wages and ordered protesting workers to be fired in a statement that the Iranian news media covered in large numbers. He demanded workers to confront their colleagues who are protesting. Like other senior political and security officials in the Islamic Republic, he accused the protesting workers of “pursuing ulterior goals.”
The crackdown of workers is happening both at the level of the Ministry of Intelligence who is arresting and intimidating workers but also the Iranian Judiciary who is slapping protesting workers with harsh sentences.
During the Aug and Sept 2019, the Iranian judiciary has sentenced several members of the Tehran Bus Syndicate, the Free Trade Union of Iran, workers at various manufacturing units, students, and labor rights defenders to prison and flogging. Some workers and labor rights defenders have received as many as 18 years of prison for protesting.
The crackdown comes at a time that workers’ protests are increasing day by day as the consequences of economic sanctions become more pronounced. The number of manufacturing plants that have been shut down has increased and about 130,000 workers are at risk of losing their jobs, according to the director-general of the Office of Support for Jobs at the Ministry of Co-operation, Labor and Social Welfare.
Visit Zamaneh Media Labor Page to download all previous reports.