Film of strikers demonstrating in Shush, Khuzestan province, Southern Iran
On 16 June 2000 workers at the state-owned Haft Tapeh Sugar Mill met in a general meeting to form their own independent union. They have now been on stike for 42 days and despite mounting repression they remain unbowed.
This is the culmination of months of action at the factory. It was paralysed by a two week strike in October last year when 3,000 workers struck and marched on the Govenor of Shush province’s office, a march which ended in clashes with the police. In November strike leaders were arrested but relaesed on bail after further protests
On 5 May five were summoned to appear on various charges connected to the October strike.
On 6 May 3,000 went on all out strike demanding the payment of two months unpaid wages, the ending of the gathering of legal dossiers on workers and summons to court, the sacking of the factory director and management committee, anf the dismissal of the firm’s security chief.
By 10 May the strike had grown to 5,000 workers and had gathered the support of much of the town’s population and 10,000 marched on the Governers Office again (see video).
On 20 May virtual martial law was imposed with large numbers of securtiy forces entering the town and arresting strike leaders. This is did not succeed as on 26th there were further demonstrations and clashes with the police.
This is a side of Iran that no one wants us to see. The hawks in London and Washington may rail against the regime in Tehran, but have no interest in the real struggles of the Iranian people.
Nor do the “left” apologists have anything credible to say about these movements. The last few years have seen a revival of the workers’ and students’ movement and Iran is a society in ferment. The movement also knows that the current western war-drive against Iran can only benefit the most repressive elements in the regime.
The only force that can liberate the Iranian working class, is the Iranian working class
For more information and to find out how solidarity can be built visit the Iranian Workers Solidarity Network website