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Iran Sugar Workers End 42-Day Strike by Forming Independent Union

Posted to the IUF website 26-Jun-2008

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Workers at Iran's Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane Plantation and Industry Company ended their 42-day strike on June 16 by forming an independent trade union, electing officers, and agreeing to return to work for 15 days to test a management promise to pay three months' unpaid wages. Haft Tapeh, an integrated complex in the southern city of Shush, is the country's only sugar refinery. The 5,000 workers employed at the site (including 3,000 contract workers) have had to resort to repeated strike action over the past two years over failure to pay wages and in support of basic workplace rights. Throughout these years workers have been ceaselessly harassed and victimized, with suspected militants subject to frequent arrests and public whippings.

The latest conflict began on May 5, when thousands of workers from every department downed tools to protest two months without wages. A petition to the provincial labour department with thousands of signatures triggered mass arrests and repeated interventions by police, security forces and Revolutionary Guards. A mass demonstration on June 16 by workers and their families ending at an assembly which elected officers of an independent trade union. The IUF has written the organization to congratulate the workers for their courage and tenacity, pledging ongoing support for their struggle.