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Protests at an IRGC Plant: Mediation to End the Workers Strike in Arak, Iran

By Kaveh Ghoreishi (source: Rooz Online)

Workers at the Pars Wagon train car manufacturing plant who on the third day of their strike had taken their protest to the streets finally ended their action on Saturday after the mediation of the chief of police of the town of Arak and a member of the town's security team.

Wagon Pars manufacturing company in Arak, Iran
photo by Hamid Hajihusseini

On December 27 tens of workers at the Pars wagon assembly plant in Arak took to the streets as hundreds of their colleagues had launched a walk out to protest the non extension of their labor agreements. The street protest did not last more than a few hours and an Iranian official news agency reported that it had ended on the very same day after the intervention of two government officials.

According to the report, a member of the town's security council and Arak's chief of police Mostafa Vesmei had gone to the plant and held talks with the plant officials.

During the talks, the chief of police asked that the head of the Islamic workers union Ali Derakhshandebakht be returned to his job, something that had been the demand of the striking workers in their second round of walkouts. The other presiding members of the union had warned that they would resign from their posts if Derakhshandebakht's labor agreement was not renewed. Workers had said earlier that the employer had told the chief of police that he could not extend Derakhshandebakht's contract because the IRGC owned Khatam ol-Anbia construction company had made the decision to fire him. Ultimately, the employer had told the chief of police that his request had been passed on to the shareholders of Pars Wagon company.

According to Iran's ILNA labor news agency workers ended their strike and returned to their jobs after the results of the negotiations were announced and their demands were met. It was not clear whether the plant had resumed production activities.

On the first day of the strike, some 900 workers had stopped the production line of the plant. The principal shareholders of the plant are the IRGC owned Khatam ol-Anbia company. ILNA had reported earlier that Khatam ol-Anbia had recently changed the CEO of the Pars Wagon plant.

The workers of the plant who had gone on strike because the labor contract of the leader of their union had not been extended said that the new management intended to create greater restrictions for them by making changes such as those in the security and protection departments. ILNA had reported that the employer had retired the head of the security department even though he had only two months before the end of the term of his contract and had replaced him with a retired military officer.

Prior to this strike, workers at Pars Wagon had staged another walk-out in protest to the non-payment of their wages.

In Iran there are no active independent labor associations subjecting workers to tough measures to discuss their work conditions.


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