Labour protests continue in Arak with workers at HEPCO, heavy equipment manufacturers, joining the strike that began last week by Pars Wagon workers.

The labour unrest has now drawn the attention of the Arak Governor who has now announced: "Labour tensions will be dealt with firmly and brought to an end as soon as possible."

IRNA reports that Hossein Bakhtiyari said he will not allow foreign and anti-regime media to take advantage of the protests to attack the reputation of the system.

He added that negotiations between labour and management representatives from Pars Wagon and HEPCO are underway in "a peaceful and non-antagonistic manner".

Nine hundred Pars Wagon employees went on strike last week when the company fired their labour representative. HEPCO workers went on strike this week to protest the inconsistencies in the payment of their wages.

ILNA reported on Monday December 29 that a group of military personnel who had been patrolling the Pars Wagon plant since last Saturday have now left the site.