Iran: Bus Workers’ Syndicate strongly condemns the state-sponsored, pseudo syndicate, propped up to attack the authentic, autonomous syndicate!

Workers of Tehran Bus Company and across Iran, and independent trade unions, workers’ organizations, and other workers’ institutions and activists internationally:

We hereby announce that state intelligence services, with the support of the Ministry of Labour and the Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company, are attempting to create a state-run phony syndicate, to undermine the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company (Vahed Syndicate) and intensify their ever-accelerating suppression of independent workers’ organizations in Iran. This project of forging an inauthentic state-oriented syndicate is conducted by the collaboration of two former members of the Vahed Syndicate, Saeed Torabian and Hassan Mirzaei, as their stooges; none of whom have had any responsibility or positions within the Vahed Syndicate for many years; on the contrary, they have been serving the company’s management, security forces of the Vahed company, as well as the anti-workers’ Islamic Labour Council and intelligence services. They’ve never missed a chance to attack Vahed Syndicate and the workers’ interests, and moreover, they have played an active role in framing/imprisoning and initiating many legal cases against Vahed Syndicate activists.

The struggles and sacrifices of the Vahed Syndicate members since 2004 to the present time and withstanding so much physical and mental sufferings, including but not limited to: interrogation, torture, imprisonment, threats, expulsions and harassment had no effects whatsoever on our principles for maintaining our own Syndicate. As a result of our collective endeavor, the international labour organizations initiated solidarity actions which increased pressures on the Iranian government to recognize Vahed bus workers’ syndicate. But on the other hand, the Ministry of Labour and also judiciary and intelligence services, who despite years of brutal pressures and causing countless harms were unable to demolish the Vahed Syndicate, have initiated a new plan during the recent weeks (specifically since Vahed Syndicate is about to hold a General Assembly). This new project aims at obscuring the distinctions between independent and counterfeit organizations in the hope of marginalizing and ultimately demolishing the effectiveness of Vahed Syndicate. They are trying to hold a pseudo-general assembly using all their connections with the company and the intelligence forces so they can suppress Vahed Syndicate even further. Moreover, they plan to deceive international labour organizations and institutions like ILO by projecting that freedom of workers’ organizations in Iran is actually being respected.

In this state-run project, the Ministry of Labour, intelligence services, and the Vahed company executives have been providing opportunities for the above two expelled Syndicate members, who are preparing for a general assembly with the appellation of “Syndicate of Workers of Tehran Bus Company”. These people have also abused and forged the logo and syndicate names and created a telegram channel under the same name. Backed by the state intelligence services’ support, they intend to plan and command the general assembly and to introduce their stooges as the Board of Directors, in order to affect the Vahed Syndicate and undermine the independent workers’ movement in Iran. Afterwards they intend to officially and this time by using the title of our Syndicate to join formal cooperation, coalition and operational integration with the Islamic labour council. Thus, by assuming the success of these puppets in establishing a yellow state syndicate, under the title and in the name of the Vahed Syndicate, these stooges will freely support the employers and government’s policies and practices and pursue their interests against the workers. While the Iranian government is suppressing the widespread gatherings of workers throughout Iran on a daily basis and oppresses all autonomous workers organizations including Vahed Syndicate, they’re also busy parading and displaying the “freedom of association” spectacle in world’s forums.

The Vahed syndicate will continue to debunk these government and employers’ plots and expose the people and agencies who line up behind them. It is necessary for us to emphasis that these actions are but a part of the general policies of the government that has attempted to suppress and control all independent syndicates and workers’ organizations since the beginning. Today, the state sees that most of its repressive practices to dismantle the Vahed syndicate has been ineffective; and now that it has become clear they can’t crush the syndicate by force, imprisonment, firing, etc., and as the Vahed syndicate is becoming a figure for numerous other workers of Iran, they use a dirty trick which is an attempt to undermine independent labour organizations through mercenary, stooges and sell out agents. Therefore, we must note that we are faced with a consistent, coherent and historic policy by the capitalist system and its government. Due to elevation of workers’’ struggles and movements during the past few years, especially in recent months,, the government is planning to create an array of state sponsored labour associations, so called trade unions and now “syndicates”, not only in Vahed company but also in cooperation with the government-sponsored Workers House, Islamic labour councils, and other phony institutions. These bogus and state-sponsored organizations enjoy the full support of judicial/security agencies as well. We warn all workers in Iran and internationally about this new project.

The Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company condemns various conspiracies of the Ministry of Labour and the security agencies to prevent the activities of independent labour organizations and the Syndicate of Workers of Vahed Company, including the holding of its General Assembly. We call on the workers and all independent labour organizations and institutions that, as always, while supporting our autonomous organization with the same passion and strength, with constant vigilance, strongly condemn the conspiracy of the government, the security forces and the company’s administration against the workers of Tehran Bus Company. We would like to call on the workers of the company to reveal any channels or materials that have been shared by the agents affiliated with the government and to continue following news and updates through the legitimate channels of the Syndicate of the workers and its website (the addresses included under this statement). Indeed, The Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company with constant awareness and strength, while preparing to hold our General Assembly, will also overcome the obstacles set forward by these anti-worker elements. We are more determined than ever in meeting the demands of the workers of Tehran Bus Company and the Iranian workers’ movement as a whole.

Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company

August 2018

Email: [email protected]

Website: www.vahedsyndica.com

Telegram: @vahedsyndica