Workers of the Haft Tappeh Sugarcane Company are continuing their strike and protests for three weeks, gathering and demanding delayed paychecks and answers to other issues raised with company officials. The workers could be seen marching, joined by their family members and children.
The main demands raised by the protesting workers are:
- Immediate payment of their delayed paychecks and extending their insurance booklets
- Their colleagues who have been expelled from their jobs be returned to work immediately
- All company officials involved in corruption be expelled from their posts
- Immediately returning all the embezzled money from the company to the workers
- Retired managers should no longer have any say in the company’s affairs and make room for new individuals
“The state media are a disgrace,” for not providing coverage to their protests. The workers are also protesting the fact that company officials are not finalizing their contracts and refusing to hire them as permanent workers, leaving them in limbo and at the complete mercy of company officials to expel them whenever it deems their interests. The workers are also saying most of them have not received their paychecks since March. The paychecks of only 1,500 Haft Tappeh Sugarcane Company employees have been sent out while the total number of workers at the company during this season reaches around 6,000. This means only 25 percent of the workers have received their paychecks and around 4,500 workers, and their families, have remained paychecks for four months now.
The protesting workers chanted in response to state media demonizing their cause and defaming their activists on a constant basis, saying, "Fellow citizens, listen up, we’re workers, not rioters.”
“Those involved in massive embezzlements in this country have such a nerve. Many have stolen billions and fled to other countries like Canada… We workers have nothing left for us. We say we are hungry, they respond by throwing us to jail. We say we want what is rightfully ours, they arrest us. This is how hardworking people are treated in this country,” one of the protesting workers said. The protesting workers have marched into the city on many occasions, chanting slogans against company officials and their deceptive measures to plunder the workers under the pretext of privatization.
These protesting workers say they will continue their strike and gatherings in the city of Shush until their demands are addressed properly.