✻ Continuing Coverage on Strikes and Labor Protests in Iran: September 1st thru 30th

By The Free Iranian Staff

This is The Free Iranian’s ongoing coverage of Iran’s national workers uprising;  for all previous reports please click here. 

 

September 1st

Atefeh Rangreez, one of the labor activists arrested in Tehran during the May Day protests earlier this year, was sentenced today to 11 and a half years in prison, and 74 lashes.


Employees of a counter manufacturer in Qazvin went on strike today after not being paid for eight months.


 September 3rd

Employees of AzarAb, a petrochemical company in Arak, went on strike today over unpaid wages.

September 5th

The picketing workers in Qazvin managed to storm the inauguration ceremony of the new provincial governor, and inform the onlookers of their plight and demands.

 September 7th

The 1,000-odd employees of HEPCO, a construction equipment manufacturer, in Arak, protested today outside the company’s offices. When HEPCO was privatized in 2017, workers were supposed to have received shares of the new corporation, but they were given the promised stocks. Additionally, the factory, which used to have 8,000 employees, then laid off most of its staff. Those remaining have regularly gone without payment for months at a time, and there have been several strikes over the past year and a half.

Branch 28 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court sentenced seven union leaders from the Haft Tappeh complex in Shush today. Esmail Bakshi, the leader of last year’s strike, received 14 years in prison, and 74 lashes. His deputy, Mohammad Khanifar, received six years. Five others, including Sepideh Gholian, a journalist who was only writing about the strike, each received 18 years.


 September 8th

Workers at Haft Tappeh held a protest today in anger over the sentencing of their colleagues and union leaders.

September 12th

Garbage collectors in Ahvaz returned to picketing today, after still not receiving their promised back wages.

 


 September 15th

The HEPCO workers walked off their jobs today and decided to go on strike.

The workers at the counter manufacturing factory in Qazvin, who haven’t been paid in months, protested outside the office of supreme leader Khamenei’s representative in that city.

September 16th

The picketing HEPCO workers blocked the railroads today, in both directions, and set up barricades on the tracks. The IRGC responded by forcefully breaking up the demonstration, wounding 20 workers, and arresting 40 others.


 September 18th

The HEPCO strike continues, as workers remain picketing outside the complex. The IRGC is maintaining a cordon around the premises, blocking the workers into a small area.

September 19th

Sepideh Gholian managed to have a voice message smuggled out of the prison where she is currently held, stating that she was tortured into making a false confession during her trial, and asking people around the world to not abandon the suffering of Iranian labor activists in prison.

September 21st

War veterans in the northern province of Gilan protested the low pension rates today. Retirees have long been campaigning for cost of living adjustments to be made to their pensions, but the leadership of veterans in this movement is a new development.

September 23rd

6,000 workers at the famed Haft Tappeh sugar agribusiness complex have gone on strike, again, after 20 of their colleagues were summarily fired this morning, with no explanation given. With this strike, however, the workers have increased their demands: they now want control of the institution to be taken away from its current owners, the family of Eshaq Jahangiri, Rouhani’s vice president, and instead turned over to an elected workers council.

Employees of a steel pipe factory in Mahshahr, in Khuzestan, protested outside the provincial governor’s office in hope that he would intervene to help them get their owed back wages.

September 24th

Mobile phone sellers in Mashad protested in the bazaar today because of the regime’s granting an exclusive license to sell cellular phone imports to an IRGC-owned corporation.


Also in Mashhad, retired faculty of Ferdowsi University protested outside the provincial governor’s office after the authorities seized lands that had been given to them as part of their retirement benefits package.

The workers of the Farabi petrochemical company in Mahshahr, in the south of Iran, went on strike today.


The employees of the Payan dairy factory in Tehran also went on strike today, after not having been paid for seven months.

War veterans protested in Tehran outside the Planning and Budget Organization, demanding an increase in pensions that would enable them to live above the poverty line.

September 25th

The faculty of the Tehran University of Applied Sciences and Technology protested today after not receiving pay for three months.

Germany’s IndustriALL union issued a statement in support of the picketing HEPCO workers today, calling for those arrested to be freed.

September 29th

Employees of the national oil company on the island of Qeshm in the Persian Gulf protested today after being notified that their October paychecks would be delayed.

Meanwhile, the strikes at HEPCO and at Haft Tappeh remain ongoing.