In June 2008 almost 2000 Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane workers gathered at a general meeting to form their independent trade union. On 22 October, they held elections for members of their union's Steering Committee. The following is a translation of their statement on the elections.
This morning, Wednesday 22 October 2008: voting on the trade union's constitution and elections for members of the Steering Committee
This morning, as the workers were preparing themselves for the elections, they were confronted by a notice which banned them from taking part in the elections and made the elections conditional on getting the Labour Office's permission.
The elections began at 8am and continued until noon. Next to every ballot box four observers from the plantation and the factory sections were present and, after the ballot boxes were transferred to another place, the votes were counted by the observers.
It should be mentioned that even though there was little time for voting (around four hours), as well as the obstacles that had been created and the [general] atmosphere at the factory, over 1000 workers took part in the vote.
During the voting the security forces were present but no specific clashes took place.
At these elections the following Steering Committee members were elected:
- Fereydoon Nikoofard, 919 votes.
- Nejat Dahli, 667.
- Ali Nejati, 578.
- Rahim Bes-hagh, 540.
- Jalil Ahmadi, 398.
- Ali Sharifi, 394.
- Reza Rakhshan, 352.
- Mohammad Heydarimehr, 302 .
- Ghorban Alipoor, 284.
Through the consistent and active work of the workers the elections were conducted with complete order and fairness.
A full report and the names of the alternate members will be announced soon.
The Founding Committee of the Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane Workers' Trade Union
Translated by Iranian Workers' Solidarity Network
22 October 2008