Some 19 labour activists at the Haft Tappeh Sugar Mill were arrested by security forces on November 18 following a peaceful strike, with seven of them still in detention.
Many workers there are already receiving a salary of less than $700 a month which puts them under the poverty line in Iran., but rising inflation and the fact that some 2,700 workers have not been paid in four months are exacerbating the problem. The workers are finding it hard to even afford bread, which means they have to borrow from bakeries. Trade unionist Jafar Azimzadeh, the leading member of the Free Union of Workers in Iran, described this as “slavery”.
The Iranian Regime has remained largely silent on this issue, that is when they aren’t circumventing measure that could improve the situation or sending in security forces in full riot gear to suppress the legitimate protests.
It is the Regime’s destructive policies, like funding terrorist groups or embezzlement, that cause the economic problems that plague the Iranian people and it is the Regime’s reaction that is making the situation worse.
While the Iranian Regime may be content to ignore the protests, the Iranian people are not. Every day, a new group or workers’ union is expressing their support for the sugar mill workers, including teachers, truck and bus drivers, steelworkers, students, and merchants. As all Iranians know, solidarity against the Regime is the only way to deal with the tyranny and corruption and protect the rights of Iranians.
The strikes also received support from Amnesty International, who tweeted: “Imagine not getting paid for months! Workers from Iran’s Haft Tapeh Sugar Company, who haven’t been paid for 4 months, are on strike. Instead of ensuring workers are paid, Iranian authorities are arresting them. We demand [Supreme leader Ali Khameini] release them NOW!”
While US State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert tweeted: “Khamenei claims there is no “real” democracy in the world like Iran’s democracy. A reminder: Real democracies don’t arrest labourers for peacefully protesting about their unpaid salaries”.