Despite defeatist stories being spread by marginal ‘leftist’ groups, the Haft Tappeh Sugar Cane workers’ have not ended the strike they began on November 5th. Over the past month the workers’ have had to deal with many rumours, intrigues and manoeuvres. The Iranian regime has made many false promises, spread fake news, tried to stir up divisions between the three nationalities among the workers – Persians, Arabs and Lors – and used other tactics to undermine and break the strike.
The regime has also had help from news agencies that have effectively sided with it. In late November the Haft Tappeh workers had to issue statements about how the BBC Persian service was spreading lies about their strike, saying that their main demand is the payment of unpaid wages. The workers have asserted many times that their main demand was “revoking privatisation” – something that the BBC did not mention at all!
Since Esmail Bakhshi, one of their elected representatives, was arrested on November 18th, the Haft Tappeh workers’ main demand has been his release. They are also demanding the immediate and unconditional release of Ms Sepideh Gholian, a journalist and social rights’ activist, and Ali Nejati, one of the union’s former reps. The workers have been adamant that they will not end the strike until all three have been freed and “Haft Tappeh is completely in the hands of the workers … [and their] council” or the government takes it over “but not like before … [but with all its] affairs are under the supervision of workers’ councils and workers’ general opinion …”.
Then came the intervention of a few self-styled ‘leftist’ groups. They have claimed that the strike has ended! Even though they are supposed to support the working class and its struggles, they say that the workers are “exhausted”! To counter this, the union declared that it would restart the strike on December 8th.
The Haft Tappeh workers are clearly still on strike and need solidarity more than before to help them resist the regime and those who are trying to break their spirit, their struggle and their strike.
All that Iran’s workers can rely on is their own united struggle and the class solidarity of workers in other countries. We call on all trade unionists, socialists and human rights activists to support the many strikes and workers’ struggles in Iran. We are calling on trade unionists and labour activists to show class solidarity with their Iranian sisters and brothers by any means at their disposal. International solidarity can definitely contribute to Iran’s workers winning strikes and struggles. Help us support the Haft Tappeh Sugar Cane and Iran National Steel workers’ strikes and other struggles that will ultimately lead to a general strike in Iran.
Free all jailed workers and activists!
Long live international workers’ solidarity!
Shahrokh Zamani Action Campaign
10 December 2018