Iran Labor Report: Andimeshk Sit-in by Municipal Workers

5 02 2010

Original Source

Some 150 municipality workers in the city of Andimeshk in southwest Iran staged a three day sit-in in front of the municipality and governor’s office.  The action started on January 30.  The sit-in was in response to the non-payment of back-wages and health insurance expenses due to the workers by the City.  One placard read: “Thirteen months of hunger! Enough promises?”  Radio Farda, the Persian-language branch of RFE/RL, broadcast from Prague, recently ran an interview with one of the workers involved.  The text below comes from this interview:

Q.  What has been the reaction of the authorities to your strike?

A.  They have not addressed our grievances and have only told us to go to the ‘prayer room’ at the municipality to discuss things.  The workers ignored the offer.

Q.  Have the authorities indicated when they intended to pay workers’ wages?

A.  They have not provided any satisfactory answers.  They have just said that the municipality does not possess enough funds for this and added that they wouldn’t use the money from development projects to pay our wages.  Instead, we are supposed to wait for aid from the state government.  They gave certain promises a month ago but really didn’t live up to them. Workers are extremely upset about this situation.

Q.  There were reports of one of the Andimeshk municipality workers doing an act of self-immolation in protest to the non-payment of the wages.  How accurate are these accounts?

A. Yes, it is true. That person’s name is Nourali Asadi, one of this municipality workers who was not paid for months. While his wife was in hospital, he was informed that their health insurance had been expired and the city had failed to make its contribution.  The dire state of his financial situation led him to take such an extreme measure in front of the governor’s office. Luckily, he was rescued on time.

Q.  How is he doing now and have his problems been looked into?

A.  No his situation as far as his wages hasn’t changed but physically, he is doing better.  He was released from the hospital.

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