The Militant (logo)  

Vol. 78/No. 42      November 24, 2014

Iran miners strike over
job cuts, privatization
Over the past several months miners in central Iran have conducted strikes involving some 5,000 workers against government steps to privatize the Bafgh Iron Ore Mines, seen by workers as a prelude to jobs cuts and assaults on wages and working conditions.

Miners struck for 39 days beginning May 17 demanding a halt to transferring 28 percent of the mine’s ownership to the Khuzestan Steel Company and that the previous transfer of 72 percent of the mine’s stock be reversed.

The strike ended after the government promised to reconsider its position over the next two months. But as the end of two months approached, two miners — Ali Sabri and Amir Hossein Kargaran — were arrested and warrants issued to detain 16 others, including Mohammad Hassan Tashakori, head of the Bafgh city council.

Thousands of miners struck Aug. 19 to protest the arrests. Police special forces were deployed to intimidate strikers, but backed off as workers stood their ground. A few days later several more workers were arrested along with Tashakori. The miners resumed production Sept. 3 after the arrested workers were released and “state and security officials declared that privatization had been struck down,” according the Iranian Labour News Agency.

Employment and living standards in Iran are under pressure as a result of the world capitalist crisis and Washington’s trade and financial embargo on the country designed to force Tehran to abandon its nuclear program.

“Privatization decreases the government’s costs and forces them onto workers,” Davoud Razavi, a member of the governing council of the Municipal Transportation Company Workers in Iran, told al-Monitor. “In many cases, after the privatization of factories, the new owner has sold it and cuts the plants into smaller ones, using the land to build residential units. [This] has generally led to closure and the loss of jobs for workers.”

Meanwhile, coal miners from the West Alborz mine in the northern province of Gilan rallied in front of parliament in Tehran Sept. 30, demanding unpaid wages since management announced the company’s dissolution three months ago, reported IRNA, the official government news agency.
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On the Picket Line
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