Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Another Crackdown of Workers Protests

Vahid Sabetian, Rooz Online:
Just two weeks after the workers staged protests at the DieselOil automobile manufacturing plant that included workers going on hunger strikes, tens of thousands of workers at the Alborz carpet workshops in the northern town of Babolsar held a demonstration which led to clashes with law enforcement personnel. These workers have not been paid their monthly wages for some nine months.

According to ILNA labor news agency, 300 workers from the textile plant had decided to hold a demonstration in front of their plant to demonstrate their protest against the non-payment of their wages with their families and march on to Babolsar Governor’s headquarters. They were stopped by the law enforcement forces and the incident led to clashes and arrest of some of the participants. READ MORE

According to ILNA, last winter there were reports about the closure of this large textile plant. Since then, the employment status of some 300 workers from the plant remains unclear, and despite repeated promises by officials, nothing effective has been done to resolve the problems of the workers and the plant.

At the same time, in protest to current labor laws and the conditions of workers, Islamic Workers Associations of industrial plants in the town of Saveh have sent a letter to President Ahmadinejad complaining about the performance of the current Minister of Labor stressing that the policies of minister Jahromi have jeopardized workers jobs and weakened labor organizations raising the possibility of their complete elimination.

According to the letter, which has been published by ILNA, workers plead with the President in an attempt to convince him that workers conditions, injustice and cruelty have severely hurt workers. “Do not allow workers to feel ashamed in front of their spouses and children”, the letter reads.Is this not an Islamic government, one belonging to the deprived and oppressed? Has Minister Jahromi been appointed and confirmed by the Majlis (Iran's Parliament) to destroy workers or to provide his services to them and bring about justice, equality and job security?, the letter continues.

Since President Ahmadinejad’s government took over the executive branch of government last year, it has engaged in violent and brutal suppression of workers sit-ins and protests. Last years demonstrations by the Tehran bus company is an example where the protestors were met with brutal police attacks, leading to arrests of the activists.