Iran: Clashes of Angry Workers With Repressive Forces in Central Province
The Iranian Resistance hails the brave workers of the Azarab and Hepko factories in the city of Arak – central Iran, who have been protesting bravely for their rights in recent days, and calls on the general public and the youth to help them in solidarity. The Iranian Resistance also calls on the international organizations defending the rights of workers to support the striking and protesting workers in Iran and to take effective action to release the detained workers and to address their demands.
On Wednesday, September 20, 1800 workers of the Azarab factory in Arak gathered in the factory for the fourth day of their protests, for lack of payment of their salaries and benefits for six months. According to the workers, the company has no problem in terms of work and liquidity, and thief government directors who themselves have astronomical salaries and revenues refuse to give workers their rights. They are demanding payment of wage arrears, insurance and bank insurance payments, and resuming operations. The repressive forces attempted to disperse workers by firing tear gas and air shooting and beating the workers with clubs. The enraged workers took some of the mercenaries’ clubs.
The workers of the factory gathered at the entrance of the Tehran-Arak road yesterday and closed the road. Anti-riot motorized and infantry guards, plainclothes and regime guards beat them in a brutal attack and arrested dozens with their siege. The enraged workers confronted the mercenaries with the slogans: "Innocent workers must be freed" and "The mercenary, go away", "Jerk, jerk". A number of detainees were freed by workers' efforts, and others were transferred to unknown locations. Since the beginning of this year, regime thieves and predators have stepped away from giving low wages of these workers. The workers of the factory, one of the major manufacturing units of the country's largest industrial hubs in Arak, have so far been protesting for their rights to be able to have a living. Workers are also worried about being unemployed because the factory only works at 20% capacity.
Yesterday workers from the Arak’s Hepco Company also gathered on the rail track route of Arak to Tehran. 900 workers of the factory have not been paid salaries since the last winter. Hepco is one of the largest manufacturers of heavy equipment, such as road construction, mining, and agriculture machineries in the Middle East. The factory has been 42 years in operation and is a mother and specialized factory, which was given to the regime’s inner circles and agents under the guise of privatization, and has undergone catastrophic decline over the past 10 years. The factory, with a workforce capacity of 3000, employs only 900 workers. The production capacity of this plant is 2000 heavy machinery machines, but its annual production is now 100 units (News site of the Markazi province – November 1, 2016). Imported machinery has replaced its production. Managing Director of the company is Bijan Namdar Zanganeh, the oil minister under Rouhani. Mohammad Hassan Asafari, a representative of the regime’s Majlis, 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? (News site of the city of Kamijan – November 9, 2016).
Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
September 20, 2017