Workers in Iran 8

Producer: David Aram

 Special issue

Azarab and Hepco protests in

1,800 workers of Azarab and more than 1,000 Hepco workers in Arak were protesting and fighting for their unpaid and stolen wages and in defense of their lives and livelihoods. On September 28th, the protests of these workers were pulled down into the street and gave the city a different space. In addition to Hepco and Arak, Pars wagon companies, Arak combines and machinery are in a similar situation and now Arak has become one of the hottest hotbeds of the protest.

Azar ab has 6 months of unpaid wages. And the risk of closure of the factory and unemployment threatens them. On the 28th of September, the protesters of Azarab workers. When they left the factory, they moved toward  road Arak – Tehran and closed it completely. To follow their demands. At the same time, Hepco workers first gathered near their own factory, they chanted, sing and blocked the Arak railway line. .. Hepco workers have taken their wages in an incomplete way from the January of 1995, and the factory’s precarious situation has put unemployment risk on their heads.

The repressive forces of the regime  attacked to the workers of Azarab. Workers also with the slogans “mercenary get lost”, Dishonorable, Dishonorable   confronted them. On this day, the police force pulled their force into the street and tried to disperse the workers by firing plastic bullets. And the workers stood up and announced that they would come to the street tomorrow. Thus, the city of Arak became the scene of the street protest of the workers of Azarab and Hepco with the suppressors of the Islamic state. On this day, the workers of Hepco intended to join the Azarab workers’ protest  to confront the police, which Government special guard  prevented them with tear gas. Then, on September 29, workers’ protests continued, and Government special guard  tried to tear gas, preventing the gathering of workers, and the workers continued to protest against the police. Following the perseverance of the workers against the oppressors and the widespread the news in  the city and in  the other factories,  the military commander central province  and apologized the workers immediately in the Islamic Republic’s T.V. In the aftermath of these events, the workers continued their protests. on the first day of October, Heoco workers gathered in protest of the special guard attack on Azarab workers and tear gas throwing at them in their gathering. They objected to poverty, discrimination, inequality, and repression.

The workers of Hekko on October 5 coincided with the visit of the  Rabiei labour Minister of government  to Arak,  In protest to postpone the payment of wages, the risk of unemployment and the onslaught of the law enforcement force to their protests closed the railway track. Rabiei who has been sent to Arak by Rouhani’s orders, announced on this day that it will be paid to the Azarab plant through a banking facility of 20 billion tomans(Iranian currency), and also the  manager of the factory will be changed, as well as the purchase of raw materials and salary rights for workers.  Also the  30 billion tomans(Iranian currency) is available to the Hepco plant to spend on equipment and part of the salary rights of the factory workers. Rabieh promised that part of the rights of Hepco workers will be paid on October6. We still have to see the result of these promises. But it is clear that the united and powerful struggle of Azarab and Hepco workers forced the government to retreat.

. A significant point in these protests is the formation of a solidarity of workers with the struggle of the Azarab workers of Arak and Hepco.

For example the workers of Hormozgan Aluminum, with an interesting initiative, in solidarity with Azarab workers gathered  and took a placard and  announced their protest againt  attack by law enforcement officers to Azarab workers. Subsequent to the Arak Aluminum Workers, Arak Machine Engineers, and a number of workers in Sanandaj declared solidarity by taking banners in condemnation of the law enforcement raid on Azarab workers.

Teachers also joined this solidarity in organizing their nationwide demonstrations on the occasion of the World Teacher’s Day on October5 and to follow their demands, with the posters That witten on “On October 5th do not forget of Azarab and Hepco”. Also in the protest rally of the Syndicate of Workers and collectives of labor activists, teachers, students and social activists in support of Reza Shahabi, a jailed labor activist in front of the government,s labour  Ministry building in Tehran, one of the slogans of the gatherers was in support of Azarab and Hepco workers. And the latest example of the solidarity is the protests of the industrial students of Arak on the 4th of October in the main campus. These supports and solidarity are continuing. Meanwhile, prominent leaders and figures and various workers’ organizations condemned the raids of the workers with their protest statements and supported the struggles of Azarab and Hepco workers. These correlations, in their turn, are a great worker’s strength against poverty, discrimination, inequality, and for having a decent human life.


Workers of the world united

Workers Solidarity Network of the Middle East and North Africa