Workers' strikes and protests Continue in Iranian factories

Some 10,000 workers of the Melli Shoe Industrial Group have staged a strike for two weeks to protest low salaries, lack of bonuses, and the deteriorating safety conditions at work.

Workers go to the factory plants from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. without doing any work. The factories are surrounded and closely controlled by the regime's suppressive forces and agents of the Intelligence Ministry. On several occasions, workers have clashed with the security forces.

The Melli Shoe Industrial Group is located in Ismail Abad, on the old Karaj Road west of Tehran. It includes 24 companies and factories. The striking workers do not accept to talk to any officials and insist that their demands must be met for the strike to end.

On January 26, the Governor's Council for the Security met to discuss the strike and made several decisions on how to clamp down on the protests. Habibi, the Group's general manager; Seemjoo, deputy head of the Melli Shoe factory; Kalhor, representative of the political-security directorate at Tehran's governor's office; Qara'ati from the General Department of Intelligence in Karaj; mullah Ferdowsi-pour from the Judiciary, and some other officials of the province attended this meeting.

In another development, more than 400 workers and staff at Jihad Nasr company in Ilam, western Iran, staged a protest in front of the factory Sunday, January 25. They were protesting against the company's general manager for not paying their salaries and bonuses over the past three years.

Strikes by factory workers in the western part of Tehran province have virtually paralyzed these factories. The week-long protest in Jahan-Chit Factory ended just recently. The Steel Parts Industrial Group also virtually closed down last week.

Since Khatami took office, tens of workers' strikes and protests in Tehran and other cities have shut down many factories. This trend has escalated with the approach of the Iranian New Year and the workers' greater need to receive their delayed salaries and bonuses to provide for their families. Iran's clerical regime thus faces a new crisis, to which it has so far responded only with violence.

Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
January 28, 1998

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