Iranian authorities have arrested managers at companies for backing workers’ strikes in an energy-producing region in the south, Iranian media reported Wednesday.
“A number of managers” were arrested for “having supported the acts of counter-revolutionary elements” and “organized strikes” at South Pars projects, AFP quoted Fars news agency as saying.
The offshore South Pars field in the Gulf — the world’s largest known gas reserve, which Iran shares with Qatar — employs some 40,000 workers.
More company officials will be arrested “in the coming days,” it added.
In April, the authorities said 4,000 of the workers on strike over pay and work conditions would be replaced.
The Iran Labor News Agency (ILNA) reported that South Pars employees “have continued to put forward their collective demands,” calling for “a 79-percent increase in wages” as well as an “end to discrimination” and the right to “freedom of association.”
In 2022, Iran witnessed several waves of strikes by teachers and bus drivers who protested low wages and high living costs.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said on Saturday that some labor protests have been helpful to the country.
“These protests are actually helping the government and the system and making them understand” the demands of workers, Khamenei said.
Since 2018, Iran’s economy has been hit by US-led sanctions and spiraling inflation, along with record depreciation of the rial against the dollar.
Meanwhile, Canada imposed additional sanctions on Iran on Wednesday over human rights violations in the country and abroad. The sanctions list one entity and nine people.
The listed entity is Rajaei Prison, which witnessed a record number of executions and is an example of “the regime’s barbarism and neglect of human rights”.
Among the nine people designated by the Canadian government are members of the Morality Police, and deputy commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps in Balochistan.
“We will continue to do everything in our power to respond to the destabilizing actions of the Iranian regime, which affect not only the Iranian people, but have implications for world peace and security,” said Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly.