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Protesters Leave Tehran-Karaj Road

Tehran Times

TEHRAN, Iran, March 2, 2000 -- Some 200 workers of the Mobliran furniture manufacturing company who had staged a protest in the west-east lane of Tehran-Karaj road yesterday morning, left the scene of the protest yesterday afternoon. Officials of the company, located on kilometer 10 of Karaj Special Road, west of the capital Tehran, assured the protesters that they would continue their efforts to solve the workers' problems.

Protesters on Wednesday morning blocked the west-east lane of the road to traffic in protest to not being paid in the past 20 months. "This delay in payment has halted education of some of the children of the workers, resulted in forced divorce and also homelessness of several others," said the protesting workers.

According to IRNA, the protest was made when electricity was cut at Mobliran factory due to its heavy debt to the Power Company which stopped operation of the machinery as well as the heating system.

Workers said that in their latest protest held in front of the Labor Ministry, officials had promised them to resume production as well as pay the workers before the turn of the year (Iranian year ends on March 21).

About 300 workers of the factory staged a protest gathering in front of the Labor Ministry last month and called for the attention of the officials to their demands.

Labor Minister Hossein Kamali told the last month gathering of workers that given mismanagement at the factory, the Labor Ministry has called for administration of the factory by the government. The minister had pointed to the ceding of shares of the factory to the private sector as the root cause of the situation and said he had predicted the present status quo one a half year ago.

Mobliran factory was ceded to the private sector in 1992 and the present 270 workers of the plant are only a small portion of the larger staff who have been either expelled or received some compensation before being dismissed.