At least four workers were killed and 13 injured in a workplace accident at Iran Khodro car manufacturing plant last night.
Iran Khodro website reported the deaths and injuries in the fatal accident of last night citing “careless driving of a Mercedes dump truck driver” as cause of the accident.
According to the report a loaded dump truck belonging to one of the contractors collided with the worker leading to death and injury of the workers.
Iranian Labour News Agency however reported eight deaths with six dying at the scene and two other pronounced dead at the hospital.
The incident occurred when the night shift crew were entering the factory, ILNA cited eye-witness reports and added, that it precipitated worker protests against harsh work conditions.
ILNA goes on to report that the workers called for the establishment of a workers union to protect their labour rights. A number of workers reportedly protested against obligatory work on public holidays.
While Iran Khodro denied ILNA report of 8 deaths, independent labour sources have confirmed that eight people were indeed killed in the incident and also that there were conflicts between the workers and the security guards at the factory.
Hassan Sadeghi, deputy head of Iran’s House of Workers has called for investigation of the incident and confrontation of its causes. In an interview with ILNA, Sadeghi maintained: "According to the law, employers cannot force workers to do more than two hours of overtime without a collective agreement." Therefore forcing the workers to work on a public holiday without their consent would be against labour laws.
Hosseini added that in addition to the overtime violations, if workplace safety issues were observed in the plant, last night’s incident would not have occurred.
Iran Khodro is Iran’s largest automobile manufacturing company and with over 5.587 million dollars in export, it was recognized as Iran’s biggest exporter in the industrial development field in 2007.