Steel and Sugarcane Workers Rally in Ahvaz to Demand Unpaid Wages
Workers from the Iran National Steel Industrial Group (NSIG) in Ahvaz, Khuzestan Province, held rallies November 10-14, 2018, demanding two months of unpaid salaries and in protest against the unannounced and sudden halt of production at the plant.
Iran’s state-funded Iranian Labor News Agency (ILNA) reported November 14 that the protesting workers had gathered in front of the offices of two members of Parliament from Ahvaz and moved the protest to outside the Khuzestan governor’s office after the MPs did not respond.
One of the protesters told ILNA that the company, which is owned by a state bank, has not ordered raw materials to resume production at the site, threatening the jobs of thousands of people.
In May 2018, Bank Melli Iran took over INSIG, which employs about 4,000 people in four different steel plants.
“Even if the employer pays our back salaries all at once, we will not end our protests until raw materials are supplied for the plant’s operation,” said the unnamed worker.
During the rally in front of the governor’s office on November 12, a protester said the plant’s problems became apparent about two years ago after the company delayed wage payment and insurance benefits while struggling to maintain production.
“The officials keep making promises but they don’t act,” added the worker, Gharib Hoveizavi.
Meanwhile,1,000 workers of the Haft Tappeh sugarcane company gathered in front of the local governor’s office in the city of Shush near Ahvaz November 14 for the eight consecutive day demanding four months of unpaid wages.
“Unfortunately, the employer is not taking any action in response to the workers’ demands for back pay,” a protester told ILNA. “We are waiting so that maybe the government officials will do something.”
An ILNA photo of the rally shows workers holding a banner that reads, “Please order bakeries in the city to lend bread to hungry Haft Tappeh workers.”