Workers of the (the Wagon Pars Company was founded in 1974 and started manufacturing different types of rolling stock in 1984; it is situated in an area of 33 hectares in the industrial township of Arak, approximately 260 kilometeres from Tehran-Iran), in the continuation of their struggle for several months of their confiscated wages were on strike for five days. On August 25, 2009, they blockaded the main entrance gate of the company by sitting on the ground and prevented all managers from entering the factory. In response to the worker action, the managers initially through threats and intimidation attempted to disperse them; including the dismissal of the remaining contract workers, judicial complaints against senior workers, and the involvement of anti-riot forces permitting them entry into the factory. Workers that had not received their regular wages for months were not intimidated and were not giving up with these threats. However, they were more angry and determined to continue the resistance and not accept the dispersal of their sit-in.
Wagon Pars factory used to be one of the giant state companies, and following the announcement of Policy Article 44 related to privatization, Iran Khodro (the largest automobile producer in the Middle East) purchased more than half of the factory shares. As soon as the factory transferred ownership the company went through a severe financial crisis. The managers of Iran Khodro, the new owners, withdrew more than 500 billion Toman (approximately $500,000,000 USD) from the state bank which was extracted from the exploitation of workers, in the name of a loan for the restructuring of the factory. According to the workers the enormous loan was not spent on the Wagon Pars factory, rather it was spent on subsidiaries of the Iran Khodro company and no penny of that money was allocated to the large restructuring of the Wagon Pars industry.
On Tuesday August 25th, 2009, after the protesting workers resisted against the threats of the company managers, the owners began to implement different criminal tricks. The direct manager of Wagon Pars factory after contact with the main shareholders, announced that 250,000 Toman (approximately $250 USD) will be paid to each worker on Wednesday August 26th. His goal along with other capitalists was first of all, to overcome the current resistance of the workers in order to put an end to their strike, and second of all, to put off the workers’ back wages which is from approximate $1500 to $2800 USD for each worker, to delay for a few more months. After the workers returned to the factory, the capitalists in their ongoing tricks and conspiracies against workers, announced with atrocity and brutality that all overtime and benefits would be cut and all contract workers would be sacked. The capitalists with the same brutality and atrocities added that they do this to punish workers. The Wagon Pars workers on August 25th, 2009, stopped the wheels of work and production completely. The workers announced that if the managers do not cancel their decision fully, they would do a new form of protest and struggle against the owners of the company.
Simultaneously with these events occurring in the Wagon Pars factory, a number of Arak municipal employees stated that some of the economic mafia of which at the head are senior Iranian Revolutionary Guards of the central province, have decided with the pretext of further development of the city of Arak, to shut down three giant industrial factories and sell their lands for astronomical profits.
This rumour has become especially strong when people noticed that there is a new highway going right through the lands of the Iran Combine Manufacturing Company and the Machine factory; they had done this very quietly and now they are paving the highway with asphalt.
August 27, 2009
Source: Coordinating Committee to Form Workers’ Organization