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Workers At Iran Tire Factory Continue Weeklong Strike

TEHRAN -- Around 1,300 workers at tire factory outside Tehran are continuing a weeklong strike to demand, among other things, payment of several months of back wages, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.

Representatives of the workers of the Alborz tire factory have met with Industry Ministry officials to discuss their demands for assistance; however, negotiations were unsuccessful.

Workers say they have not been paid around six months of back wages, in addition to not receiving a promised New Year's bonus.

One worker at the factory told RFE/RL they have also not been supplied with the raw materials necessary to continue their work. Workers claim the factory's financial problems have been escalating since it was privatized a few years ago.

On October 25 and 26, workers at the factory set fire to stockpiles of old tires. They also threatened local officials with possible road closures in the area around the factory, and that they would stage a sit-in in front of the Ministry of Industry's main building.

Javan Mir Moradi, a member of the Free Union For Iranian Workers and head of the Occupational Organization for Metal and Electric Workers of Kermanshah, a city in west Iran, tells RFE/RL, "It is almost 10 years we have been facing protests and strikes around the country on a daily basis."

Siamak Taheri, a Tehran-based journalist, says that these protests are mostly due to workers not receiving wages.

"The minimum wage is very low in Iran. Around 300,000 tomans ($300) a month," Taheri explains. "Now imagine that in such conditions a worker is being deprived of wages for two, three, and often six months in a row. Where could a worker's family get some means to support themselves? Naturally, they have no other option than to protest as a group."

The factory has seen frequent protests and strikes in recent years over unpaid wages.

According to media reports, in recent weeks similar protests have been occurring throughout Iran.