Fifteen workers of the Heavy Equipment Production Company (HEPCO) were sentenced to prison and flogging in Iran. Their crime: organising a strike action.
HEPCO, an Iranian company that produces road construction equipment in Iran and the Middle East, was privatized last year. The plight of workers began right after the privatization. Before privatisation, 8000 people worked at the company. Now, only 1,000 of them are left. In May, the workers protested their unpaid wages and their uncertain fate.
Independent trade unions are banned in Iran and workers have few legal protections. Those who hold protest rallies and strikes are in danger of persecution. Union activists are regularly beaten, jailed and tortured. In October, a court in Qazvin Province called for the death penalty against 17 striking truck drivers in the north-western province, after they went on a 20-day strike over low pay and the high cost of spare parts. More than 250 truck drivers were detained during the course of the strike and threats of death were issued by government officials who labeled the drivers “road bandits”.
The fifteen HEPCO workers are: Majid Latifi, Behrouz Hasanvand, Hamidreza Ahmadi, Amir Houshang Pour Farzanegan, Morteza Azizi, Hadi Fazeli, Abolfazl Karimi, Farid Kodani, Majid Yahyaie, Amir Fatahpour, Yaser Gholi, Amir Farid Afshar, Mehdi Abedi, Ali Maleki and Berouz Valashajardi.
Photo: Industriall Union