Unpaid Workers Arrested at Protests Against Iran’s Biggest Sugar Production Company
After security forces attempted to violently repress protests at the Haft Tappeh sugarcane company in southeastern Iran, at least five workers were charged with national security crimes, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned.
The independent “Iran Kargar” website identified the workers as: Karim Alekasir, Ali Alekasir, Hamzeh Alekasir, Yahya Sa’di and Fares Sa’di.
“The five workers were released on bail after negotiations between labor representatives and judicial officials in Shush [city],” added the report. “The Haft Tappeh workers have not received any salary since May  and are in a very difficult living situation.”
The country’s biggest sugar production plant, which employs about 5,000 people, has been the site of protests against unpaid wages and benefits for the past two years.
The latest strike began on August 17, 2018, near the city of Shush, in Khuzestan Province.
“Today [August 19], a number of expelled sugarcane workers attempted to set themselves on fire but were prevented by their coworkers,” reported Iran Kargar.
The report continued: “Instead of preventing any tragedy, the company’s director ordered the special security units into action and they viciously attacked 30 expelled workers with batons, tear gas, pepper spray and brass knuckles.”
Iran’s official state news agency, the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), also reported on August 19 that about 100 retired workers who had not received their pensions had gathered in front of the governor’s office in Shush.
“In a meeting between the protesting workers and the governor, it was decided that the Haft Tappeh company must pay the State Welfare Organization three billion rials ($71,210 USD) no later than next Tuesday so that the retired workers can receive their pension,” reported IRNA.
“When the agreement was reached, the workers ended their protest,” added the report.