Labor Strikes in Iran Escalate, Marking 44th Anniversary of Islamic Revolution

By Kayhan Life Staff

The 44th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution’s victory on Feb. 11 is coinciding with an escalation of nationwide strikes by trade unions in Iran, demanding that employers and the government honor their promises of better pay, benefits, and work conditions, which they have so far failed to do.

Workers at several major factories have gone on strike across the country recently, including cotton farmers at the Moghan Agro-Industry and Livestock Company, in Parsabad, in the northwest province of Ardabil, who gathered outside the governor’s office on Feb. 9.

According to some reports, farmers in Moghan sold $23.6 million (based on the exchange rate of 42,200 tomans to one U.S. dollar) worth of cotton but received only $4.7 million of that money so far. The demands of cotton farmers have yet to be met even after four months.

On the same day, striking workers at the Yazd Rubber Industries Complex (also known as Yazd Tire) in the central province of Yazd gathered in the factory yard, demanding better pay and job benefits. The striking workers shouted: “Enough promises, there is no food on our tables,” and “Workers: cry out and demand your rights.”

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A tweet by Kayhan London on Feb. 9 included footage reportedly showing striking workers at Yazd Tire, shouting: “Enough promises, there is no food on our tables,” and “workers, cry out and demand your rights.”

People across Iran have taken to the streets again to mark the 44th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution to show their desire for regime change. The nationwide protest movement broke out in mid-September after Mahsa (Zhina) Amini, a 22-year-old woman, died in the custody of the morality police.

Some workers at the Haft Tapeh Sugarcane Agro-Industry Company in the southwestern province of Khuzestan have also been on strike for the past few days.

According to posts on the Haft Tapeh Independent Workers’ Telegram account, workers’ demands include allowing the trade unionist “Ismail Bakhshi to return to work,” “aligning the salary of employed workers and pensioners,” “preventing inappropriate interference by corrupt executives in the management of the Haft Tapeh,” “clarifying employment conditions of seasonal workers,” and “providing housing to all workers.”

Ismail Bakhshi, a 39-year-old activist, trade unionist, and the founder of the Independent Workers Union of the Haft Tapeh Sugarcane Agro-Industry Company, has been arrested and imprisoned several times in the past decade.

There are also reports of power cuts at the company’s retirement housing units. According to the Haft Tappeh Sugarcane Agro-Industrial Complex Labor Syndicate, the prosecutor’s office, and Haft Tapeh’s management have allegedly cut electricity to 40 company retirement housing units, forcing the residents to vacate their homes, despite bitterly cold temperatures.

“The retirees have long service records,” the syndicate said. “They worked for the company in the 1990s and 2000s when production was low, and the management could not pay the salaries on time. The pensioners cannot buy a house or even rent regular apartments. The government has not provided housing to these people as mandated by the Labor Law and the Constitution., which is an insult to the retirees.”

“Deputy governor for political affairs ignored the retirees’ pleas,” the syndicate added. “Their complaints to the prosecutor’s office were useless; as a result, they have no electricity now.”

Many people allegedly defrauded by the CryptoLand Exchange and lost their investments protested outside the office of the head of the Judiciary’s first deputy in Tehran. On Feb. 8. Protesters demanded the return of their money, which had not been released to them two years after the authorities seized the assets of CryptoLand Exchange.

A tweet by Kayhan London on Feb. 8 included footage showing a crowd reportedly outside the office of the head of Judiciary’s first deputy in Tehran, shouting, “enough promises, there is no food on our tables.”

Many in the video wear full-length white banners which read: “Those in burial cloth # CryptoLand. No nation has ever seen such injustice.”

On the same day, farmers awaiting their water rights and drought compensation protested in Isfahan, the capital of the central province of Isfahan.

A tweet by Kayhan London on Feb. 8 included footage of a crowd chanting “our shame, our shame, our Seda and Sima [the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB)]” and “death to the unscrupulous government.”

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There were several other strikes and protests across Iran on the same day, including poultry farmers who gathered outside the Ministry of Agriculture Jihad in Tehran, students at Tehran’s Shahid Beheshti University protesting the morality police on the university campus, and workers at Ariya Steel in Isfahan, demanding their unpaid wages and job security.

A tweet by Kayhan London on Feb. 9 included footage showing a man in Javanrud, in the western province of Kermanshah, taking down the Islamic Republic flag and putting it in a trash bin.

Protests, strikes, burning propaganda banners celebrating the Islamic Revolution, and anti-government graffiti and slogans are part of a broader effort that has morphed into a “revolutionary movement” in recent months, calling for regime change in Iran.

Link to Kayhan.London/Persian

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