After a month of strikes, demonstrations and marches the workers of HEPCO have been paid two months’ unpaid wages and the owner of the factory is reported to have been arrested!
The HEPCO workers began their struggle – which has included strikes, demonstrations and marches – on January 7th. They have been demonstrating for payment of four months’ back pay and the renationalisation of the company. On February 8th around two months’ unpaid wages were paid into the HEPCO workers’ accounts.
HEPCO (Heavy Equipment Production Company) in Arak city is a company producing road construction equipment. It was privatised in 2007 and it is widely believed that the problems of the company began then. A HEPCO worker told ILNA that the owner bought the company for 700 billion rials ($21,696,839) by just paying 20 per cent and agreeing to pay the rest in instalments over four and a half years. But after five years he has not paid his debt to the factory or the workers.
Over a thousand workers have marched through Arak city a number of times and on February 5th a number of workers set up tents in the city council’s square to publicise their just demands. On February 8th the city’s officials said that “the rest of the workers’ wage demands will be paid by March 5th.” One of the workers said: “We hope that after a month of protest the officials deliver on their promises and settle our claims.”
Arak County Council has announced that the main owner of the factory has now been arrested. Shokrollah Hassanbeigi, the political deputy of Markazi Province’s governor, has said that the main owner of HEPCO has been arrested and is obliged to pay all wages by March 20th (end of the Iranian year).
ISNA reported that Arak County’s governor has said that the factory should temporarily be brought under state control.
The HEPCO workers’ slogans during the strike and demonstrations have included calls for renationalisation and “One less fraud and our problems will be solved.”
10 February 2017
Shahrokh Zamani Action Campaign
Source: ILNA and ISNA.