On Monday January 15th Esmail Bakhshi, a representative of the Haft Tappeh Sugar Cane complex’s workers, made a speech announcing the continuation of their strike until management have met their demands. He warned management that if their demands have not been met by Friday then they will occupy the sugar cane complex on Saturday.
Over 500 day-labourers at Haft Tappeh, a sugar cane complex with plantations and refineries in Khuzestan province, are demanding the payment of unpaid wages and permanent contracts. They also object to a retired manager being brought back to the company.
The following is the transcript of parts of Esmail Bakhshi’s speech, distributed by the Haft Tappeh workers as a video clip. The full video clip is 11 minutes long.
“What we want to say today is different from before. Today we are saying something different. If by the end of this week [Friday, January 19th], listen up, if by the end of this week our demands and the situation of our contracts have not been dealt with, then we give up our demands. We will take Haft Tappeh back. [The workers cheer.]
“Today, today we have come to say that you can’t manage Haft Tappeh anymore, we no longer have any confidence in your lies. If by the end of this week the situation, the situation of the demands and contracts, has not been dealt with, then we will sit in the management ourselves and we will build up Haft Tappeh ourselves, we will manage it ourselves. [The workers cheer.]
“They claim that they don’t have any money. Neither have we! But we differ from them in that we have the expertise to produce sugar, so we’ll manage it ourselves. We’ll sit there and manage until we find proper sugar cane managers who can come here and manage. The first thing that we’ll do in Haft Tappeh, in line with managing Haft Tappeh ourselves, that we will be responsible for, will be uprooting from Haft Tappeh the generation of fake and illiterate managers who have dragged Haft Tappeh to this state – and are from Haft Tappeh themselves. [The workers cheer.]
“The illiterate managers who have dragged Haft Tappeh to this state, have no place in Haft Tappeh anymore. These gentlemen can’t produce.”
Mr Bakhshi then talks about the managers preparing to sell off the land of Haft Tappeh. “In 1386 [2007-08] all the land deeds for Haft Tappeh were taken from here. … They can’t produce. They want to sell your land. Haft Tappeh is not theirs. … Haft Tappeh is the inheritance of our forefathers. …”
Esmail Bakhshi also talks about the legal and other authorities always taking the side of management and the company’s owners. “The Labour Law is not a labour law. It has an attractive appearance. … It is a slavery law. This Labour Law was not written by the workers. The workers of Iran did not pass this Labour Law in the Majles. The workers have not expressed their opinion about the Labour Law.”
Mr Bakhshi also says that management “… pay the wages once every four months. Then tell us to be grateful that we have a job! … You were unemployed, we gave you a job. …”
Mr Bakhshi finishes his speech warning that the workers will not stand for a retired manager being brought back and says the strike will continue, and if their demands have not been met by Friday, then they will take over the Haft Tappeh Sugar Cane complex on Saturday.
Translation: Shahrokh Zamani Action Campaign.
Source: Haft Tappeh workers.
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