Workers of the Ahvaz Steel Factory rallied today for the 29th day in protest to their unpaid wages and the privatization of the company.
The workers initially gathered outside the Khuzestan branch of the Meli Bank chanting, “the voice of every worker calls for the downfall of tyrants”, and “the mother of all corruption in Ahvaz is right here”.
The workers then marched on the streets of Ahvaz chanting“our country is a den of thieves and is one of a kind in the world”, “we are steel workers and will uproot tyranny” and referring to Iran’s president, they chanted, “Rouhani is a liar.”
This is while human rights sources reported that at least 10 Ahvaz Steel Factory workers were summoned over the phone by the town’s intelligence agency on Wednesday over their recent protests.
The Ahvaz Steel Factory workers answered the threats in their rally chanting, “Threats and prison are no longer effective.”
According to the Free Iran Labor Union Telegram channel, the head of the Ahvaz Intelligence Agency told summoned workers that if they continued their protests on Saturday, the summonses would be more serious and they will take the necessary measures to end their protests.
Iran’s Labor Code does not grant citizens the right to form independent unions, despite Iran’s ratification of the UN’s International Convention on Civil and Political Rights and membership in the International Labor Organization.
Workers are regularly threatened, detained, tortured and even sentenced to flogging.
The IndustriALL Global Union’s Iranian affiliate, the Union of Metalworkers and Mechanics of Iran condemned the recent treatment of striking workers especially that of detained Haft Tappeh Sugarcane Factory representative Esmail Bakhshi who was tortured in prison.
“We condemn the severe physical and psychological conditions forced on Esmail Bakhshi and Sepideh Gholian and call for their immediate and unconditional release,” the union said adding that “the responsibility for their suffering lies directly with the Iranian state and said that they were “deeply and increasingly concerned about their lives.”
“We call on workers across Iran and around the world to campaign for the release of all those arrested,” the union added.
IndustriALL assistant general secretary Kemal Özkan also said that “the attempt to break the strike through violence and intimidation brings great shame on the Iranian regime.”
“Workers are striking for the wages they have earned, and their leaders bravely suffer torture to defend them,” he added.
According to Wikipedia, IndustriALL Global Union represents more than 50 million working people in more than 140 countries, working across the supply chains in mining, energy and manufacturing sectors at the global level.