But still the workers of Iran continue to stand up for their rights and to challenge the clerics.
The International Alliance in Support of Workers' in Iran last month reported on just a recent sampling of worker related news in their country:
* Bakhtyar Rahimi, a labour activist, was arrested by security forces at 3:00 am. His house was searched and his personal belongings such as computer, CDs, camera, etc. were confiscated. (Salam Democrat weblog, July 23, 2007)
* Parviz Khorshid, Mansour Osanloo’s lawyer, announced that he has not got permission to meet his client. Osanloo, the president of the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran & Suburb Bus Company-Sherkate Vahed has been charged with “security accusations” and has been held with no visitation rights by the revolutionary court’s Branch 28. (ISNA, July 25, 2007)
* Mohammad Sharif, Mahmood Salehi’s lawyer says that his efforts to move Mahmood Salehi from Sanandaj prison to Saqez prison has been unsuccessful and prison officials have always prevented him to meet his client. (ISNA, July 25, 2007)
* Javanmir Moradi, a founding member of the Union of Dismissed and Unemployed Workers in Iran reports: 600 workers of Gama Company have not been paid for 3 months. To protest this situation, workers went on strike. 40 workers were fired. They were the most active workers during the strike. Also, 120 workers of Pars Hass Company who were not being paid for 3 months went to strike. This company is a contractor of T.I.G.D Company. These contractors are working in Assalooyeh Refinery, Phase 6, 7 and 8.
* 11 workers, who were arrested on May Day celebration in Sanandaj city, were sentenced to 91 days in prison and 10 lashes each. They were accused of disturbing public order and participating in an illegal gathering by both civil and revolutionary courts of Sanandaj. Their names are: Khaled Savari, Eghbal Latifi, Yadullah Moradi, Tayeb Mollaee, Fars Goilian, Sadiq Amjadi, Habibollah Kalkani, Mohiuddin Rajabi, Tayeb Chatani, Sadiq Sobhani and Abbas Anadyari. (The Union of Dismissed and Unemployed Workers, August 5th, 2007)
* Ebrahim Madadi, the vice-president of the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran & Suburb Bus Company was summoned to Tehran Revolutionary Court Court-Branch14. His charges are: ‘propaganda against establishment, conspiracy and assembly for the purpose of endangering national security. (ISNA, August 7, 2007)
* Mohammad Jarahi a member of Painters’ and Building Decorations’ Syndicate was arrested in Tabriz city by the security forces. He has also been a member of The Committee to Pursue the Establishment of Free Workers’ Organizations. (Salam Democrat weblog, August 8, 2007)
* Ebrahim Madadi, Seyed Davood Razavi, Yaghoub Salimi, Ebrahim Nowroozi Gohari and Homayon Jaberi, members of Vahed Syndicate, were arrested by intelligent forces and were transferred to Evin prison while they went to Osanloo’s house to state their solidarity with Mansour Osanloo on August 9, 2007. Taher Sadeqi and Fatemeh Hajilou were also amongst the detainees (Vahed Syndicate)
* Yaghoub Salimi a member of Tehran & Suburb Bus Company-Sherkate Vahed was summoned to Enghelab Islami Court-Branch 14. His charges are: propaganda against regime and disturbing Law and order as well as endangering national security. (Etemad, August 13, 2007)
* Yousef Molaee, Osanloo’s lawyer, announced that he has met with his client, Mansour Osanloo, in Evin prison. “Mansour was beaten severely when he was arrested. He had bruises all over his body”, he added. (ISNA, August 14, 2007)
* Parviz Khorshid who is the lawyer of some of accused workers of Tehran & Suburb Bus Company- Sherkate Vahed declared that: “Seyed Davood Razavi has had a hearing at Tehran Enghelab Islami Court-Branch14 on August 21st 2007. His charges were propaganda against regime, illegal gathering and deranging national security. Also, Yaghoub Salimi will have a hearing for similar accusations. See latest information below:
- According to the Syndicate of Workers of the Tehran and Suburban Bus (Vahed) Company, on “Saturday September 8, 2007 Ebrahim Madadi, Deputy of the Syndicate of Workers of the Tehran and Suburban Bus (Vahed) Company was taken to the Interrogation of Security branch number one and was questioned and was once again returned to Evin after the questioning procedure was over. Ebrahim Madadi was arrested on August 9, 2007 when he was about to enter Mansour Osanloo’s house and was taken to Evin. Furthermore, Seyed Davoud Razavi, a member of the Syndicate’s Executive Board who was arrested on August9, 2007, was released on a $50,000 bail on September 8, 2007”.
* Taher Sadeqi , who was arrested on August 9th , 2007 before Osanloo’s house and then was transferred to Evin prison, and Fatemeh Hajilou, who were moved to section 209 in Evin prison, have been released from prison.
* According to Committee in Defence of Mahmoud Salehi, Mr. Salehi was transferred to Tohid Hospital in Sanandaj under heavy security on Thursday, August 23rd after his health reached a very critical condition. Salehi, while being handcuffed to the hospital bed, received a simple medical examination and subsequently was sent back to the prison again despite the recommendation of the hospital’s physicians. Salehi was again transferred to the Tohid hospital on September 2, 2007 for another short treatment and was sent back to jail.
* On Wednesday, August 29th, 2007, Mohammad Abdipour, one of the Saqez Seven labour activists, while taking his 7 year-old child to a hair salon, was attacked by someone named Omar Darwish Abdullah with a handgun. Abdipour was not harmed in this attack as he was rescued by people present in the area. In a statement on august 30th, the Committee in Defense of Mahmoud Salehi emphasized that this kind of attack, particularly with a gun, can only done by the government forces and with their arrangement.
* Public transit drivers in the City of Kermanshah went on strike on August 27th for almost a full shift to demand immediate attention to their unresolved issues. Workers were demanding permanent position for contract employees and a better insurance scheme to protect drives as well as the payment of their overdue bonuses.
* Sheys Amani and Sedigh karimi members of the board of directors of the Dismissed and Unemployed Workers’ Union have been sentenced 30 months imprisonment by the Sanandaj’s criminal court. These two labour activists were incarcerated following organizing a rally on May 1st 2007 in Sanandaj. Each was freed on 50 million Toman bail (US$54,000) in June. They will appeal these charges.
* According to the Teachers’ Trade Association of Tehran, Mr. Hamid Rahmati an activist teacher in the city of Shahreza was arrested by security forces in his home on September 6, 2007 and was released after 24 hours detention on September 6th. He went on hunger strike right following his arrest. In addition Ms. Baadpar, also a member of Teachers’ Trade Association, who was there as a guest, was arrested and a couple hours later released.
* According to news reported at the Salam Democrat weblog in Iran, on September 5, 2007, the Teachers’ Trade Association of Kermanshah’s legal certificate was annulled by the Kermansha governorship. Therefore, the association has no rights to organize any activities under this name.
* According to a report by the Collaborative Council of Labour Organizations and Activists, the Workers of Azemayesh factory in Marvdasht went on strike as of in August 2007 to demand the payment of their overdue wages. This factory used to have 1400 workers but about 1000 was dismissed and out of the 400 remaining workers only 200 have permanent positions. The factory is not fully functioning and there is news that the employer is planning to lay off all employees and shut down the factory entirely.
The International Alliance in Support of Workers' in Iran (IASWI) was formed in January 2000, with labour endorsements, particularly from Canadian labour movement, to launch and organize collaborative international solidarity campaigns in support of workers' rights and struggles in Iran.
The International Alliance in Support of Workers in Iran (IASWI) is formed with the following objectives:
To support workers’ struggle in Iran for better working conditions and
To advocate for workers’ movement demands in Iran,
including the right to organize free and independent labour organizations and
the right to strike;
To strive for an absolute end to the systematic repression, persecution, imprisonment, torture, assassination and execution of
labour activists and political opponents in Iran;
To promote the implementation and enforcement of internationally recognized human and workers’ rights and freedoms for all people in Iran.
The following comes from the weB page of the International Alliance in Support of Workers' in Iran.
Open Letter to the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU)
Re: the WFTU’s Relations with Workers’ House of the Islamic Republic of Iran
As you are well aware, a WFTU Delegation visited Workers’ House of the Islamic Republic of Iran (WH) on July 16-20, 2007. The photos of this visit can be seen at the WFTU website*. This is not the first time WFTU and the Workers House have been engaged in friendly relationships. WFTU seems to have established an ongoing close relationship with WH. WFTU has previously extended invitations to the WH to attend its conferences as a representative of the Iranian working class. It’s not even the first time an international labour federation has made such attempts to build close relationships with the WH. Each time however such attempts have received strong reactions by Iranian labour activists in Iran and abroad. WFTU too has previously received numerous letters regarding its unacceptable relationship with the WH. WFTU thus already knows very well that the Workers House is simply an instrument of the Islamic Republic of Iran and employers. It’s not even a trade union, independent or not, by the furthest stretch of the imagination. It’s an ideological group formed by the Islamic Republic of Iran for controlling Iranian labour movement. We and others in Iranian labour movement had previously sent WFTU information about WH that proves that WH is a means of controlling and suppressing independent labour activities and organizations in Iran. The Iranian labour movement undoubtedly sees the Workers House and the Islamic labour Councils as puppets of the Islamic Republic**.
Workers in Iran have been struggling tirelessly, despite ever-increasing repression, to form various independent organizations to demand the freedom of association and the right to organize and strike and other internationally recognized workers’ and human rights. Iranian workers are denied the right to form any independent organization and those who act to form one are fired, persecuted, arrested and imprisoned or exiled. Time and time again, workers and progressives and anti-capitalists in Iran have declared that the Workers’ House is not a labour organization and it does not represent workers at all. The expulsion of the Workers’ House delegations from all international gatherings has been a major demand of Iranian labour activists in Iran and abroad.
WFTU and US Military Intervention in Iran:
We recognize and value the fact that the WFTU has repeatedly opposed war and imperialist militarization by the United States and its allies against countries like Iraq and Iran, etc. The WFTU is absolutely right in its position that economic sanctions and war would primarily (and the most drastically) affect working people. WFTU is also right to state that the US and its allies have used the pretext of the struggle against terrorism to attack and restrict democratic and trade union rights under the pretext of war on terror. A position based on the working class interests, however, must go way beyond this. The Iranian working class and the independent labour movement in Iran strongly oppose war and militarization in the region and around the world. In the context of the current confrontation between the US and its European allies and the Iranian government, i.e. nuclear power and so on, the Iranian labour movement is holding an independent position because this is not the working class conflict. The Iranian working class strongly opposes all kinds of arms races and nuclear weapons in all countries without exception. In term of war on Iran, the Iranian labour movement strongly and unequivocally opposes any military intervention or sanctions against Iran, because it’s not only unacceptable and inhuman under any pretext, its main victims are always working people and their families. At the same time, the Iranian labour movement does not allow the Iranian government to use the threats of war and sanction as a pretext to continue, and intensify, persecuting, arresting, dismissing, kidnapping and jailing Iranian labour and progressive activists. Let’s make it clear once and for all, the Islamic republic of Iran is not an anti-imperialist force; it’s a cruel capitalist government, which is fully implementing the neo-liberal policies of global capitalism. Moreover, it’s a regime that has been jailing and killing tens of thousands of labour and women’s rights activists, students and socialists and other progressive forces in Iran. Moreover, we have said this repeatedly that the United States government, which in collaboration with corporations and industries has for years stripped workers of so many of their rights and protections, as the most dangerous nuclear and military power and the only government ever used the atomic bomb against people and its invasion of Iraq brought absolute disaster for the Iraqi people, has no credibility whatsoever on any of these issue. A progressive working class stance not only proactively opposes any attempts to pursue war or economic sanctions against Iran, it ought, at the same time, support the workers’ struggles against the repressive government and capitalists in Iran who are forcefully implementing the most aggressive anti-worker and neo-liberal policies in the country’s contemporary history.
What needs to be done for workers rights in Iran?
Just six days before WFTU mission’s arrival in Tehran to visit WH, Mansour Osanloo, the president of the board of directors of the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company, was kidnapped by plain clothes agents in the evening of Tuesday, July 10, 2007. Later on, he was transferred to the notorious Evin prison and has been kept imprisoned there since then. As you should remember, Osanloo’s tongue was cut by a knife used by the Workers’ House executives when members of Workers’ House and Islamic Labour Council, with the support of security forces and the Vahed Bus Company, violently attacked the meeting of the Bus Workers’ syndicate of Tehran in May 2005. Mahmoud Salehi, a prominent anti-capitalist labour leader in Iran, has been imprisoned in Sandanj’s prison without the right for proper medical treatments. His health since imprisonment has been severely deteriorated and his family and colleagues are extremely worried for his life.
The WFTU calls for the establishing and the free functioning of Trade Union organisations in every country. It is absolutely undeniable that In Iran, in addition to the government, a main barrier for establishing free labour organizations is the Workers’ House and its so called Islamic labour councils.
We are therefore calling on WFTU and its affiliates to immediately stop WFTU’s friendly relationship with Workers’ House of the Islamic Republic of Iran. We are urging the WFTU to engage in a meaningful dialogue with independent labour activists in Iran and pro-actively support the following resolution in support of the Iranian labour movement in any possible ways you can.
Proposed Resolution in Support of workers in Iran
WHEREAS the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI), has imposed deplorable political, economic and social conditions on workers and impoverished strata of society;
WHEREAS Iranian workers have consistently witnessed the imposition of anti-labour and neo-liberal policies and practices of government and employers and;
WHEREAS the IRI dismantled independent workers' councils and syndicates, which were set up democratically and freely by workers in various sectors and industries after the 1979 revolution, and identified activists of such organizations, tried them for framed up unfounded charges in sham courts, expelled many from their workplace, and arrested and executed others;
WHEREAS the Iranian government created "Islamic Labour Councils" and “Workers’ House” in order to control workers and suppress independent workers' organizations;
WHEREAS workers in Iran continue to be deprived of the right to organize and strike and frequently face persecution, arrests and imprisonment –the persecution of the activists of the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company and imprisonment of Mansour Osanloo and Mahmoud Salehi and arrests and prosecution of other labour activists for organizing efforts or May Day activity are just some known examples and;
WHEREAS, the US Administration’s drive to wage war against countries including Iran has been a pretext for massive attacks on labour, civil, immigrant, and human rights;
WHEREAS sanctions and military intervention in Iran will be disastrous, inhuman and totally and unacceptable under any pretext and its main victims will surely be the working people of Iran, ordinary women, men and children.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the WFTU and its affiliates strongly support the rights of Iranian workers to freely set up their independent workers’ organizations and;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the WFTU calls for immediate and unconditional freedom of Mansour Osanloo and Mahmoud Salehi and all jailed labour activists;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that WFTU and its affiliates refuse any recognition of the “Islamic Labour councils” and “Workers’ House”, which are set up and backed by the government authorities and employers, in the name of Iranian workers.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that as part of the worldwide struggles against capitalist globalization and neo-liberalism, the WFTU will work with independent labour movement in Iran to strengthen worker-to-worker solidarity;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the WFTU takes a strong and proactive stand against any attempts by the US government and its allies to pursue sanctions and military interventions against Iran.
Thank you for taking these urgent and important issues and concerns into serious consideration. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or concerns.
International Relations- International Alliance in Support of Workers in Iran
Mahchid Modjaverian (email@example.com)
Farid C. Partovi (firstname.lastname@example.org)
(Canadian Union of Public Employees, Local 4772)
cc: labour, progressive and anti-capitalist and anti-war organizations in Iran and other countries.
*WFTU Website, Photos: http://www.wftucentral.org/
**Workers’ House- A brief historical background:
Workers’ House (Khaneh Kargar) was founded under the old monarchical regime. In the early 1970s, Prime Minister Amir Abbas Hovayda organized the only legal political party in Iran, called the Rasstakhiz (Resurgence) Party. Connected to this instrument of monarchical dictatorship was the Workers Organization of Iran headed by the chief of SAVAK (the secret police agency) General Parnianfar, Minister of Labour, one senator and two representatives of Majeles (the lower house of the monarchical parliament). After the February 1979 revolution, workers took over the offices of the Workers’ Organization of Iran and renamed it Workers’ House. This was a centre for activities of independent workers shoras (councils) and syndicates (trade unions). In September 1979, after a Friday prayer in Tehran a group of government agents armed with clubs attacked the Workers’ House and took it over from workers. Ali Rabbiei, Assistant Director of the Organization for Information and Security of the Islamic Republic, Hossein Kamali, an engineer and a representative in the Parliament and soon after the minister of labour, Sarhadizadeh, Minister of Labour at the time, and Alireza Mahjoob, member of the pro-capitalist Islamic Republic Party (now the head of Workers’ House and a Member of parliament), formed the central leadership of the “occupied” Workers’ House. They registered the Workers’ House based on a political constitution supporting the pro-capitalist agenda of the Islamic Republic regime….
*** For identification purposes.
For more information, please contact email@example.com
International Alliance in Support of Workers in Iran (IASWI)