From: Free Trade Union of Iranian Workers
To: International Trade Union Confederation
With warm greetings,
Friends and colleagues at International Trade Union Confederation,
As you well know, the sporadic independent workers bodies and organizations in Iran have always been under most difficult pressures and in the past years, many members of those organizations were expelled, thrown into jails and had to face prosecution under many guises. Despite that and even with the widespread protests staged by the labour organizations around the globe regarding the gross violations of basic rights of workers in Iran, application of widespread violations against the existing organizations and their activists have increased. In addition to expulsion, detentions and arrests, many members of such organizations particularly members of Free Trade Union of Iranian Workers and coordinating the committee to help creating workers organizations have been under tremendous pressure by the security and intelligence forces to resign from their organizations.
This is up to the point where after the activists were summoned on imaginary charges, some judges and security operatives have demanded our union members’ resignation from the Free Trade Union of Iranian Workers as a precondition for them to receive not guilty verdicts, otherwise to receive heavy sentences. Applying such pressures against effective members of our union increased specially during last year’s May Day commemorations and since then, worker members of our union have prepared a protest letter campaign signed by over forty thousand factory workers throughout the country demanding increase of minimum wage in accordance with Article 41 of the Labor Act and setting aside the anti-workers bill to amend that article, and implementation of other basic rights.
This trend, and the security and intelligence forces declaration of our organization and few other independent organizations as being illegal, is increased in the past year. We witnessed daily establishment of different types of labor and trade unions in Iran and according to minister of labour’s claim, the number of such organizations have increased by 2 times. In that regard, it must be said that there is no law in Iran governing registration of labor organizations as labour or trade unions, however, since all were under Labor House, government and security forces not only do not bother them, the labour ministry’s policy is to create of such unions in attempts to substitute Islamic Councils to enable them to relieve themselves of the pressures applied by international labour organizations because of the ideological natures of the Islamic councils.
On the other hand, this situation shows that pressures applied by international labour organizations and ILO to eradicate regime’s ideological bodies in working environments have been useful, but the government and ministry of labour’s adaptation of the said policies are indicative of absence of positive change in the activities of the Iranian government to lead to recognition of independent workers organizations in Iran, and the government still attempts by going around demands of ILO and other international labor organization regarding Iranian workers’ rights in creating independent of the-government organizations, to leave their handpicked organizations intact in working environments.
Therefore, we ask of you, our friends in the International Trade Union Confederation and all member confederations, to expose this policy in your organization’s annual meetings and strongly protest against the increased pressures on activists and a few existing independent workers bodies, and not to allow the people from the ministry of labour of the Islamic Republic to receive credentials as representatives of the Iranian workers.
Doubtlessly, it would be unnecessary to emphasize that the operatives of the Supreme Center for Islamic Councils in addition to organizing and having direct involvement in suppression of Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company, in the past year, acted in coordination with security and intelligence forces they confiscated many signatures containing workers’ protest signatures and prevented them to reach the organizers, and, in an obvious manner leveled imaginary accusations against the signature campaign coordinators claiming them being affiliated to special forces, in their attempts in creating environment of fear for the workers and coordinators of the signature campaign.
Free Trade Union of Iranian Workers