Hooshmand Safaei, Director General of the Cooperatives, Labour and Social Welfare in the Alahwaz province (Also known as Khouzestan) denounced the arrest of 20 Ahwazi city council workers as illegal and accused the Ahwaz municipality and its contractors of breaking the law in dealing with workers’ demands.
According to IRNA, the Iranian regime’s official news agency, Safaei also warned that if the dispute between Ahwaz municipality and its workers was not resolved accordingly then the case will eventually be sent to a legal practice committee to retake the workers’ salaries and entitlements.
He also added that while no legal grievances against the workers were reported to his office before the arrests took place, he nonetheless met with the mayor of Ahwaz and council zone 4 officials to resolve the issue (in which he has received a strong promise from the mayor for this regard).
Mr. Safaei, who would refer to the incorrect calculations committed when payment slips were issued to Ahwazi workers, expressed his disapproval for labelling the protesters as a threat to national security and for calling on security forces for intervention.
Mr Safaei also rejected all accusations against detained workers such as deliberate smashing the office glasses, saying that the council and local authorities should apologize, regret this unjust accusation, and reverse any arrests of the workers with added compensation.
He emphasizes that no one should be blamed for demanding his rights against those business employers who are actively exploiting Ahwazi workers by underpaying them or frequently paying them late.
Safaei expressed his readiness to take legal procedures against the council and its contractors if Ahwazi workers raise the matter with his office.
It is reported that about 20 Ahwazi workers were arrested by the security forces last week when they gathered near the Ahwazi city council office demanding their overdue and underpaid wages. During this time, security forces intervened and detained all of the workers, who spent a night under confinement. Later on, and with the order of the revolutionary court of Ahwaz, all 20 Ahwazi workers were sent to Sepidar prison to be called for trial for allegedly acting against national security.