Unpaid Workers Clash With Security Forces in Arak

Security forces reportedly attempted to disperse workers by firing tear gas and beating them with clubs. Anti-riot motorized and infantry guards, plainclothes and regime guards were videoed as they attacked and arrested dozens. The enraged workers confronted them with the slogans. Banners saying, “Innocent workers must be freed” and “The mercenary, go away”, “Jerk, jerk” were seen. A number of detainees were freed by workers’ efforts, but others were transferred to unknown locations.

900 workers from the Arak’s Hepco Company also gathered on the rail track route of Arak to Tehran. They have not been paid their salaries since the last winter.

Hepco is one of the largest manufacturers of heavy equipment for road construction, mining, and agriculture machineries in the Middle East. The factory has been in operation for 42 years. However, Hepco has undergone catastrophic decline over the past 10 years. The factory, with a workforce capacity of 3000, employs only 900 workers.

According to the news site of the Markazi province, the production capacity of this plant is 2000 heavy machinery machines, but its annual production is now 100 units. Imported machinery has replaced its production. The Managing Director of the company is Bijan Namdar Zanganeh, who is the oil minister under President Rouhani.

As well, the news site of the city of Kamijan quotes Mohammad Hassan Asafari, a representative of the regime’s Majlis, who said on January 6, 2015, that while large factories such as Wagon Pars, Hepco, Azarab, and Machinery operate, what justifies the government to purchase more than 5,000 wagons from Russia, and the municipality of Tehran to purchase over 3,500 wagons from China?

The Iranian Resistance hails the brave workers of the Azarab and Hepko factories, who have been protesting for their rights in recent days. Further, the Resistance calls on the general public to join them in a show of solidarity, and calls on international organizations who defend the rights of workers to support the striking and protesting workers in Iran, and to take effective action to release the detained workers, and address their demands.