Staff at a steel foundry in Ahwaz staged a third demonstration in front of the factory gates on Wednesday (December 21) to demand backdated payment of wages, with none of the workers having been paid for three months.
The angry workers had held two similar protests previously, with the foundry owners promising to pay the backdated salaries before reneging on their promises. The strikers demanded to be allowed to speak directly with the foundry’s management officials in order to explain their grievances, but despite assurances that a management representative would discuss the issue with them, nobody from the management team appeared.
A frustrated protester said that if any fire broke out at the foundry, the management would immediately be at the scene, but they were fobbing off disgruntled unpaid staff with excuses and lacked even the decency to turn up and discuss the workers’ grievances.
Protesters said that they had even called local media to inform them about the demonstration in an effort to get coverage and spread awareness of their plight in order to force the management officials to resolve the situation and pay their back wages. However, they added, no media representatives had been able to attend, because the regime’s security forces have banned and warned all local media off approaching the protesters as local work unions were warned not to deal with workers’ demands as well, forcing the strikers to turn to overseas media in the hope that this coverage would let the workers’ voices be heard and increase awareness of their suffering. The disgruntled protester added that despite the foundry staff protesting outside the gate, management had kept sending messages telling the staff to wait half an hour, then wait another hour and so on without providing any response.