Since Esmail Bakhshi, one of their elected representatives, was arrested on 18 November, the main demand of the workers of the Haft Tappeh sugar cane complex in south-west Iran has been his release. They are also demanding the immediate and unconditional release of Sepideh Gholian, a journalist and social rights activist, and Ali Nejati, one of the union’s former reps.
The workers have been adamant that they will not end the strike until all three have been freed and “Haft Tappeh is completely in the hands of the workers … [and their] council”, or the government takes it over “[with all its] affairs. . . under the supervision of workers’ councils and workers’ general opinion…”
The workers of the Iran National Steel Industrial Group (INSIG) have also been on strike — since 10 November. As at Haft Tappeh, one of the workers’ major grievances is unpaid wages. Iranian socialist activist Morad Shirin told the Labour left blog The Clarion: “We want support from trade unions but also from the Labour Party. ”
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