Steel Workers in Sirjan on Strike

RAHANA – On June 19, 2010, Godeleh Sazi workers in Sirjan (south of Iran, province of Kerman) continued their picket outside the main gate of the complex and asked the management to address their demands. The workers demanded to meet with the CEO, Mohammad Jalal Mo’ab, who is currently in Tehran on a trip.

According to a RAHANA reporter, there were altercations between the 400 striking workers and some of the factory managers. A number of workers were injured during clashes with the factory guards. There is still no information on the number or conditions of the injured workers. There are also reports that the city’s security officials held an emergency meeting on the afternoon of the same day.

The strike started on June 14th after the announcement of the results of the company’s hiring exams, which only 40 of the 500 workers passed. The striking workers have been employed for the last five years on a contractual basis to launch the complex; however after the complex was inaugurated by Ahmadinejad in April, they were told that they would be replaced by new workers who had passed the hiring exams. The situation became critical when it was announced that only 40 among the current workers had qualified to continue their employment.

On June 16th, the striking workers began holding daily gatherings outside the governor’s office. One worker told RAHANA, “We have not received any convincing answers from the city officials, therefore we will continue our strike until we receive a meaningful answer to our demands.”

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the worker said that the city’s Intelligence and administrative authorities held a meeting with three representatives of the striking workers. According to the worker, “Not only did they fail to address the demands of the workers, but they also tried to intimidate the three representatives during the meeting.”

In the past few days, the city’s Intelligence authorities have repeatedly contacted the local newspapers and ordered them not to cover the news of the strike. An informed source told RAHANA that the sensitivity of the Intelligence authorities over the strike is because the complex was opened by Ahmadinejad two months ago and the authorities believe that news of a strike would lead to the weakening of the government’s image. One striking worker, however, dismissed the idea that the strike is politically motivated and said, “We are not involved in politics. Our only demand is to keep our jobs. Who is going to answer to our families when we lose our job?”

An eyewitness told RAHANA that the representatives for the three workers left in protest after their demands were not addressed during the meeting with the city authorities. The gathering outside the governor’s office did not take place on Saturday, but the workers continued their strike.

Source: RAHANA


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