Iranian trade unionists speak out as Iran investigated by UN
This week, Iran is before the UN human rights review, and trade union rights are one of the abuses that will be investigated. Iranian trade unionists have released the following statement.
February 10, 2010
To: Human Rights Council of the United Nations
In the 7th session of the United Nations rotational review of human rights on 15th to 17th of February 2010 in its headquarters in Geneva, the human rights situation in Iran is being reviewed.
The beginning of this session coincides with the 4th anniversary of international solidarity with the imprisoned workers of the Iranian Transit Company. On 15 February 2006, many international workers and members of trade unions expressed their support of those detained workers and raised their protesting voices against the anti-union activities in Iran, to the authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI).
During all the years after the workers and union activists were detained, the IRI authorities have said that the imprisoned workers would be released if they sign undertakings not to be involved in union activities. The security forces have declared that despite the fact that IRI was a signatory to international treaties, it was not to its national interests to permit formation of workers unions and syndicates, and anyone attempting to do just that would be considered an enemy of the IRI and would be charged as such.
In the passed 30 years, despite the main demands of the 1979 revolution, the financial conditions of working class in Iran not only has not improved, poverty and destitute aspects and lack of income has become rampant amongst them. The situation is so bad that the International Labour Organization (ILO) has categorized Iran among the worst 3 countries in the world in terms of working conditions and the most basic rights of workers being denied. The working situation of youth and women has reached catastrophic proportions. Lack of work place safety, temporary monthly contracts, and blank contracts have become routine practice in hiring workers. The minimum wages in Iran is four times less than the poverty line. Families of millions of workers are constantly desperate to earn daily sustenance because of delayed payments for their labors, and the huge numbers of the unemployed and the ones in danger of becoming employed workers has created hell on earth for them and their families and dependents. To them, the only way out of such inhuman conditions is to make drastic changes in all levels of finances and social sectors.
Those inhuman conditions have been imposed on the Iranian workers when they were denied of all their internationally recognized rights in the passed 30 years. Any strike, protest or attempt to organize has been faced with suppression, threats, unemployment and national security related charges.
Despite the clear and present danger of suppression and unemployment, the Iranian workers filled the scenes with their protests against their backbreaking conditions. In hundreds of production and industrial centers centers, they organized many gatherings to show that they were not willing to continue to live in such inhuman living and working environments. We see some aspects of their protests in the passed month where many of the participants in the street movements consist of women, youth and their families.
The 7th session of the United Nations rotational review of human rights is being held at the time when the president and vice president of the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Vahed Ossalou and Madadi, hte Syndicate of Workers of Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane Company Ali Nejati and Alireza Saghafy along with many other labour activists are in jail and a teacher like Mr. Farzad Kamangar is sentenced to be hanged.
Many participants of the May Day celebrations are still awaiting court decisions and many other syndicate members are in a limbo of being suspended from their works.
We hope that demands of the Iranian workers of living honorable lives, away from any fear of suppression and threatening environment, will be considered in your session and is this issue is placed on the agenda of the 7th session of the United Nations rotational review of human rights.
Their most urgent and most basic demands at the present time are:
- Abolishment of executions, immediate and unconditional release of labour activists and all other social movements activists from jails,
- Rescinding all charges against labour movement arrestees,
- Immediate and unconditional freedom in formation of labour unions, without the need to have permission from managements, compliance with all labour related international conventions, eradication of all non-labour establishments from working environments, and to prosecute the suppressors and deniers of workers human rights,
- Unconditional rights to have strike, protest, and freedom of speech,
- Complete equality between men and women at work and in all other aspects of social, economical and family lives,
- Total abolishment of child labour and providing educational and medical environment for all children.
The Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Vahed Bus Company
The Syndicate of Workers of Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane Company
The Free Union of Workers in Iran
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