The threat of a possible layoff hangs over the heads of 1,300 workers at Tabriz match factories due to rising energy costs and an increase in the smuggling of substandard matches.
ILNA reports that Changiz Ghassemi, an Eastern Azerbaijan Provincial official, said: “The match-manufacturing companies are now producing at their lowest capacity, and if this situation continues, the whole matchmaking industry in the province will be decimated.”
He added that the factory warehouses are filled with completed matches that can’t be sold. It’s because the market is flooded with sub-standard Chinese-made matches that have been stamped with counterfeit Iranian factory brands.
He warned the authorities that the factories employ 1,300 people in the province and they all face imminent unemployment.
Ghassemi maintained that the import of “substandard raw materials” from China has caused havoc in the Iranian manufacturing sector.
He added that this problem is also being exacerbated by “increases in the price of energy”, “the lack of cash flow”, “the lack of high-quality raw material” and “the lack of government facilities.”
The match-manufacturing industry in Iran has been heavily concentrated in Tabriz for more than 90 years.
Energy prices have spiked in Iran since the Ahmadinejad administration scrapped government subsidies for energy last year.