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۱۳۹۳ شهریور ۴, سه‌شنبه

Labor News

Use of the Especial Police Unit against the Protesting Bafeg Iron-Stone Mine Workers

In protest against privatization of the Bafeg Iron-Stone Mine, on May 17, 2014, 5000 mine workers started a sit-in protest. After government authorities’ assurances and promises and 39 days later, the protesting workers ended their sit-in. Following the manager’s complaint against the mine worker representatives, on August 19, 2014, police arrested two of the mine workers and arrest warrants were issued for 16 other workers as well. The 16 mine workers that arrest warrant was issued for them, sought refuge among their co-workers in the mine. In a protest against arrest of two of their co-workers and police’s attempts to arrest the other 16 workers, on August 20, 5000 mine workers stopped working at the mine. One of the protesting workers indicated, “Ending of the workers’ protest will depend on the withdrawal of the arrest warrants of all 18 workers.” According to the Islamic Republic Labor News Agency’s (ILANA) reports, “To disperse the workers from their sit-in and arrest the 16 workers”, on August 21, Especial Police Unit was stationed at the Bafeg Mine; but on August 22, security forces were “positioned at a point outside of the mine.” Workers are demanding that “15 percent of the mine’s added value be spent for development of the backward region.” When touring the mine on August 14, 2014, Islamic Republic’s Minster of Labor Rabieih had indicated, “Even if workers’ last sit-in had lasted 339 days (the last sit-in lasted 39 days), I would not have allowed even a worker lose a single hair.”           

“The Times of Injustice against Capitalists is over”

According to the Mehr News Agency, while “bestowing and cutting” 50 percent of taxes on foreign investment, on August 12, 2014, Mohammad-Reza Naemat-Zadeh, Islamic Republic’s Minister of Industry, Mines and Commerce indicated, “The times of injustice against capitalists is over.”

Expansion of the Temporary Contracts

According to ILANA’s (Islamic Republic’s Labor News Agency) July 23, 2014 report, in his letter to Islamic Republic’s Minister of Labor Rabieih, Gazvin Workers’ Houses’ Secretary had indicated, “Some of the managers, especially in the Gazvin province, when hiring workers, by demanding checks, monetary notes and blank-contracts, deny workers the opportunity to bargain or complain under imposed injustice; also there are no monitoring of managers’ activities by the Labor Office inspectors….. Some other managers, when hiring they ask workers to work for free and without pay and benefits, such as free lunch and transportation services, for three months….. If the manager decides to disown his responsibilities toward the worker, using the check and the signed monetary note, he can exert pressure on the worker and deny him the opportunity to file a legal complaint against the manager.”

Expansion of the Especial and Free Economic Zones and Devastation of Workers’ Rights

According to the Iranian Labor-Law, workers’ contracts must be prepared in three copies and a copy of the contract must be provided to the workers. Especial and Free Economic Zones in Iran are not covered by the labor law. According to ILANA’s July 19, 2014 report, “At this moment there are more than 62 Especial and Free Economic Zones in the country.” Expansion of the Especial and Free Economic Zones is one of the Rouhani government’s top priorities; and according to ILANA’s July 27, 2014 report, “In yesterday’s (July 26th) Free Economic Zones’ Grand Council meeting, chaired by the President’s First Deputy, the suggestion for establishment of an Especial and Free Economic Zone in Bousher was presented and approved.” 

Opposition to the Workers’ Right to Protest

ILANA’s July 27, 2014 report, described workers’ 14 months of overdue wages in the Southern Pars’ (Aslavieh) Especial and Free Economic Zone; and detailed 500 workers’ protests on several occasions and wrote, “Following workers’ several protest gatherings…..the contractor-manager paid two months of workers’ wages…. The contractor-manager also provided a copy of the workers’ contract to them…. This is the first time that the manager in the Especial and Free Economic Zones was compelled to provide the workers a copy of their contracts.” In response to the workers’ protest because of their overdue wages, Abbas Gaed-Rahmat, Secretary of the Parliament’s Commission indicated, “Protest is not the only means for workers to follow-up their claims.”

Ninety Percent of the Iranian Workers Live Under the Poverty-Line

On August 7, 2014, in an interview with the ILANA’s reporter, Alireza Mahjoub, President of the Parliament’s Labor Commission and First Secretary of the Workers’ House indicated, “At this moment 90 percent of the workers live under the poverty-line; and the other 10 percent are not far from the poverty-line…. During the last year we have witnessed the most severe inflationary recession…… Economic recession has not been specific to one government; this recession started in 1993 and since 1995 has become more intense.”

Sources: Islamic Republic Labor News Agency (ILANA) and Mehr News Agency