32970Iran-Independent Labor Celebrations Dealt with Heavy Suppression
- May 6, 2014
Independent Labor Celebrations Dealt with Heavy Suppression
This May Day, the state took a heavy hand approach preventing any independent workers day celebration in the country. The state sanctioned Labor House was also denied the permission for a March.
Labor Minister denied the permit for a march on the Labor Day saying that would coincide with a speech by Hassan Rouhani on the same day; an act denounced by an ally of the labor Minister, Alireza Mahjoub, of Labor House. Labor House had requested the permit to March back in last December from the Ministry of Interior. The permit was denied last March and officially on April 26. The last time workers were permitted to March was in 2004. The official Labor House event was held in Azadi stadium with presence of Hassan Rouhani.
A call to gather by Ministry of Labor on the occasion of international workers day was issued by Free Union of Iranian Workers. The ministry compounds was cordoned off and came under heavy security forces presence at early hours of the day. The workers started showing up at the compound around 10 a.m. in small groups. Shapour Ehsanirad, a member of the stirring committee of the Free Union of Iranian Workers, was the first to get arrested attempting to raise a banner. Next, the reaction led to more arrests including Parvin Mohammadi, another member of the stirring committee and a coordinator of theforty thousand workers petition. The workers were thus denied their planned gathering.
23 members of Vahed Bus Workers Syndicate distributing sweats at Azadi terminal were arrested. Among the arrested workers were Ebrahim Madadi, Aliakbar Nazari, Hassan Saeedi, Vahid Fereidouni, Morteza Komsari, Mohsen Hossein Tabar, Nasser Moharramzadeh, Kioumars Olfati, Naghi Karimi, Bahram Akbari, Alireza Tavassoli, Seyyed Rasoul Taleb Moghadam, Ali Pourkarimi, Mohammad Salari, Mohammad Ghasemi, Seyyed Reza Nematipour, Seyyed Davoud Seyyed Fatemi.
Madadi talking after his release said that he along with 20 other co-workers were arrested at Noon in Azadi terminal. The arrests were rough and he said the signs of beatings were still visible on his body. The arrested labor activists were released at 7 p.m. Cases were opened for them and all were eventually unconditionally released.
On April 30 at 1 a.m. Jafar Azimzadeh and Jalil Mohammadi, two of the coordinators of forty thousand workers petition, were arrested at their homes. Their homes were searched and personal belongings including computers were confiscated. Parvin Mohammadi, another organizer’s house was also visited that evening by intelligence operatives, her not being home prevented the arrest.
Shapur Ehsanirad and Parvin Mohammadi, two of the coordinators of forty thousand workers petition, along with others arrested at the Ministry of Labor compounds were released at Midnight following their arrests.
Five of the stirring committee members of Free Union of Iranian Workers, Khalil Karimi, Sheith Amani, Sharif Saedpanan, Mozafar Salehnia and Sadigh Karimi were called in Sanandaj Intelligence office in Kurdistan and interrogated on the coming May Day events. They were asked to refrain from participating on the events, declined by all five.
Despite the coercive efforts, at 7 p.m. workers and labor activists marched in Golshan street in Sanandaj to commemorate the workers day. The marches carried signs and chanted “bread, housing, freedom” and “imprisoned workers should be released”.
Prior to May Day, labor activists in Tehran, Sanadaj, Kamyaran and South Pars zone were summoned and warned not to organize any unauthorized activists for the workers day.
On May 2, workers attending a private picnic celebration were arrested by security forces. Mechanical Metal Workers Syndicate which had organized the private celebration has provided information on the arrests.
Iranian Union’s Joint May Day Declaration
Five independent Unions in Iran issued a joint statement on the occasion of May Day. The translation of the statement is provided below:
Cherishing the grand memory of the fallen workers of Chicago labor movement, commemoration of whom, the first day of May has been named the international workers day and will last until eternity in the history of social justice,
We whole-heartedly salute all workers and working people and those striving for justice and freeing humanity from the yoke of exploitation on this cherished day.
Following more than one hundred years of tradition in struggle, unions and other workers groups and organizations elevate their protest and struggle for justice on the occasion of May Day and raise their voices for justice all over the world and against the capitalist ruled states.
Workers, working people and those seeking justice in our country also through decades have been asking for their demands and trampled upon rights from the rulers similar to workers across the world and have devoted their lives to establishing a society based on standards of social justice.
Relying on our humanistic views, protesting all the horrendous suppression of the workers rights and all the ongoing injustice, we declare our demands from the rulers as the following:
1. Recognition and observation of Union rights such as gatherings, marches, strikes, meetings and other forms of protest and putting an end to all suppression of labor rights’ activists by various security and intelligence apparatuses.
2. Releasing of all imprisoned workers defending workers rights and their rehabilitation of all their violated rights and all prisoners defending Iranian people’s rights who have lost their freedom or have been put under house arrest. We also strongly condemn the recent attack on the prisoners and their battery and call for trial and punishment of those issuing the orders and those engaging in the attacks.
3. We condemn the rampant poverty, destitution, unemployment and the wide class divide caused by price liberalizations and increasing privatization based on IMF and World Bank policies, witnessing their shameful results in even European countries and call for full-scale economic and social protection of the workers and working people and lower strata of society entangled in the mischief of their managers.
4. Strongly protesting the level minimum wage has been set for 2014, we demand a revision of this regulation and setting the wages based on livelihood of a workers family according to article 41 of the Labor Law.
5. We ask for immediate payment of the delayed wages and benefits of the workers, job security and elimination of debilitating blank signature contracts and intermediary contracting companies.
6. We ask for return to work and rehabilitation of union activists rights of Hassan Saeedi, Vahid Fereidouni, Nasser Moharramzadeh, Hossein Karimi Sabzevar who have lost their jobs due to defending workers rights as well as rehabilitation of Aliakbar Pirhadi and Hassan Karimi who have lost their rights during labor protests.
7. We condemn the ever increasing death and injury of the workers at work places and see the Labor Ministry as the main culprit in this deplorable situation. We demand observation of the safety standards in work places and especially on the roads.
8. We ask for a befitting livelihood devoid of any discrimination and inequality for labor, military and public retirees and condemn intrusion into social security organization coffers to implement healthcare plan and call for immediate and open trial of Judge Mortazavi for plundering of workers assets.
9. We call for supervision of macro decision making organs especially those related to workers and retired workers through effective presence of true workers representatives and entities in order to prevent trampling the collective rights of the workers as it occurred in Social Security Organization and find the administrative responsibility of this demand to fall on the Ministry of Labor.
10. In order to safeguard child laborers and elimination of child labor, we ask for observation of the international charter on children’s rights and condemning the responsible authorities, we thank all associations defending children’s rights and ask them to increase their pressure on the authorities.
11. May 1st, instead of a holiday just for the workers should be elevated to the level of an official and full holiday like the other holidays and along with national holiday, the right to celebrate this day by independent syndicates and workers associations be officially recognized.
12. The main victims of war and militarism are the working class and working people and lower strata in the society. Thus, we along with all workers and working people and peace lovers across the world call for end to war and warmongering and 888 of peace, justice and freedom across the world.
13. Grateful of sincere support of international organizations and other unions and worker and justice seeking organizations which have defended Iranian workers rights, in solidarity with them, we once again declare our solidarity and support for labor rights’ struggles all across the world and condemn their suppression.
Tehran and Suburbs Vahed Bus Workers Syndicate
Mechanical Metal Workers Syndicate
Founding Committee of Painters and Decoration Workers Syndicate
Union of Project based Labor Force
May 1, 2014
Separately, other independent labor organizations issued statements on the occasion. Free Union of Iranian workers released their resolutions on the occasion of the international workers day. Follow-up Committee to Form Free Workers Organizations, Coordinating Committee to Help Form Workers’ Organizations and Kermanshah Electrical and Metal Workers Association issued a joint declaration on May Day. In addition, a declaration was issued by the city of Saghez workers and a joint declaration was issued by Southern Pars project based workers, Labor Activists of the South, Anti-capitalist Labor Activists in Gilan, A Group of Bandar Imam and Mahshahr Special Economic Zone Petrochemical Workers and Some of Tehran-Karaj corridor Workers.