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Labor Protests Held In Several Iranian Cities

Source: RFE/RL

A series of labor protests have taken place in several Iranian cities this week, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports. Protests and strikes have been held in recent months over unpaid salaries and other work-related demands, but the past few weeks have seen an exceptional amount of such actions.

During a visit by Ahmadinejad to the provincial town of Shiraz, many workers were carrying signs and banners demanding unpaid wages and better working conditions.

About 1,300 workers at a pipe factory in Saveh, about 100 kilometers southwest of Tehran, held a work stoppage for several hours earlier this week after not receiving their paychecks for more than a month.

Some 400 workers at a factory in the western city of Arak held a demonstration this week because many people said they had not been paid in six months.

An estimated 700 workers at the Alborz Tire factory in Eslamshahr, outside of Tehran, also held protests last week over salary delays.

On February 3, 150 municipal workers in the far western city of Andimeshk protested 13 months of salary delays. One protester told RFE/RL: "The police arrested two of the workers but they were released the next day. Four other workers were summoned by authorities and eight others were fired."

Sadeq Karegar, an Iranian union activist living in Norway, told RFE/RL that unpaid wages are not the only issue driving workers' unrest. Living conditions are worsening, too, he said.

"It's a matter of hunger," Karegar said. "[The workers] either must resign themselves to death, poverty, and hardship or they must resist [and protest]. And it's obvious that when faced with a choice between life and death, one will choose life."

Copyright (c) 2010 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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