On Saturday, September 28, workers at the Haft Tappeh Sugar Cane Mill entered their sixth day on strike in protest to the expulsion of their colleagues.
After the announcement of the firing of at least twenty workers on Monday, September 23, all workers of the internal sections of the company including those in the mechanical section of the production line and those in the infrastructures’ section stopped working in solidarity with their fired colleagues and gathered in front of the company manager’s office. Security agents’ threats had no effects on the workers who asked for all those fired to regain their jobs.
With around 6000 personnel, the Haft Tappeh agricultural industry is situated 15 km away from Shush in Khuzestan Province, in southwestern Iran. The facility was built on 24,000 hectares of terrain and is considered one of the biggest in its class in Iran.
“Do not forget that no power in Haft Tappeh can match that of workers and united workers,” announced one the workers on strike in their gathering.
The Haft Tappeh company began work in 1959. In the winter of 2015, in the course of turning big state-owned companies to the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and security apparatus, the company was put under the control of cover companies belonging to the IRGC and the security organs.
On Monday, August 6, the workers of the Haft Tappeh Sugarcane Company entered their fourth day of strike in protest against the non-payment of their outstanding salaries. pic.twitter.com/qjLMiDA4Ps
— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) August 7, 2018
Now, the right of the Iranian people to strike and protest is enshrined in Articles 8 and 21 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, to which Iran is a party. The Covenant also includes a ban on torture or other inhumane and degrading treatment.
This is not the first time that Iran sentenced protesting workers to prison terms and flogging. In October 2018, 15 workers from the Heavy Equipment Production Company (HEPCO) were convicted on charges including “disrupting public order” for going on strike in protest at unpaid wages. They were sentenced to 12-30 months in prison and 74 lashes each.
At least 100 Haft Tappeh workers have been summoned or detained only for speaking out and demanding their rights.