Tehran – April 13, 2008
Around 7.30pm last night, anti-riot police smashed the gates and climbed over the walls of Kian Tyre factory, in the outskirts of Tehran, to forcefully evict hundreds of striking workers. Scores were beaten up and arrested, with some needing hospital treatment.
“They used axes and kicked in doors and began brutally attacking the workers with electric batons” - reports Farhad Ghaasemi, WPI reporter in Tehran. “Roaming the site on motorbikes, they battered anyone who happened to be on their way… Scores were arrested and at least two busloads of detained workers were taken out of the factory”.
The workers of Kian Tyre (formerly Alborz Tyre) have been on strike since Tuesday in protest at the non-payment of their wages - overdue since the fall of 2007. With their repeated calls having fallen on deaf ears, the workers yesterday decided that they had had enough and partially blocked the main road outside the factory with burning tyres to draw attention to their plight.
Earlier on the day, Tehran’s governor and deputy governor arrived at the factory to promise that the overdue wages would be paid within 48 hours. In another development, around 6pm, the head of the local security forces issued a warning that if the road was not cleared by 8pm, the police would move in. The workers rejected the promises as empty talk and said they would only end their action if the company’s Director came to talk to them and once the outstanding wages were paid in full; otherwise, they would stay put in the factory overnight.
According to WPI report, prior to the attack, a 5-6km zone around the factory was evacuated, and specialist and managerial staff were secretly led out from the back of the compound. Police and ambulance sirens could be heard throughout the area.
The whereabouts of the 50 or so detained workers remains unknown. However, an Iranian labour news outlet and several workers’ organisations in Iran have named the location of detention as Ahmad Abaad Mostofi police station.
Kian Tyre employs around 2,000 workers, who are owed from five to eight months’ unpaid wages. According to one worker, so far only one month’s pay, from last autumn, and a $120 New Year’s allowance has been paid.
WPI has called on labour and human rights organisations around the world to condemn this vicious attack and to demand the immediate release of all those detained. It reiterated the call for the expulsion of the Islamic Republic from the ILO and all international organisations.
URGENT ACTION REQUESTED:
Please publicise, as widely as possible, the news of this outrageous attack by the Islamic government in Iran, condemning it in the strongest possible terms. Letters of protest may be sent to the following offices of the Islamic Republic government. Please forward a copy to WPI’s International Labour Solidarity Committee for info:
Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei
Office of the Supreme Leader
Islamic Republic Street
Shahid Keshvar Doust Street
The Head of the Judiciary:
Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi
Office of the Head of the Judiciary
Pasteur St.,Vali Asr Ave.,
South of Serah-e Jomhouri,