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Open letters to ILO by independent labour organizations and activists in Iran

 • Open Letter from the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company
to 105th Session of the International Labour Conference 
• Message of Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane Workers’ Syndicate to 105th International Labour Conference
• Message of the Alborz Province Painters’ Syndicate (Iran) to the 105th Session of the International Labour Conference
• Mahmoud Salehi’s Open letter to the Executive Committee of International labor organization (ILO) 
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Open Letter from the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company
to 105th Session of the International Labour Conference

With warm greetings,

As you are well aware the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Co., which is the largest metropolitan bus company in Iran, initiated its trade union activities by utilizing syndicalist educational workshops concerning workers’ rights for drivers and workers in 2004. From the very beginning we have faced pressures and threats against our members from employers, Islamic Labour Councils, agents of “Worker’s House” and government’s security forces. On May 9th 2005 elements of Worker’s House and Islamic Labour Councils in a coordinated assault swarmed our meeting location in broad day light while police and security forces were watching their illegal actions. Despite all pressures and threats we held our general membership election, after 27 years, on June 3, 2005. During the above general membership assembly, our board members were elected by thousands of our members’ votes and members delegated the board to pursue the accumulated demands of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company’s workers. But because of management’s refusal to address the legitimate grievances of TSBC’s workers and drivers the syndicate was forced to organize two strikes in February and March of 2006. During these strikes, which were unprecedented in the past thirty years, more than three hundred drivers and workers were arrested. All the arrested members were expelled from their jobs based on cooperation of Islamic Labour Councils, which are controlled and funded by “Worker’s House”, with company’s management. Most of these expelled workers were returned to work after six months because of syndicates’ persistent endeavors and defense work, except forty-nine members, which included board members and syndicate activists. And even out of these forty-nine, all but one were able to return to work after having being expelled from work, for four to six years. During 2006 and 2007 a number of syndicate’s board members were sentenced to extensive or suspended sentences by revolutionary courts because of their syndicalist activities. But syndicalist activities continued nonstop and despite all duress and hazards syndicate members never stopped our endeavors in support of expelled colleagues and solidarity for our fellow workers, though all members were constantly under pressure from elements of management and security forces.

In this report we should also mention Mr. Reza Shahabi a board member of our syndicate was arrested in 2010 while he was on the job, driving a bus; he was violently assaulted in front of bus riders and incarcerated in Evin prison’s ward 209. After spending nineteen months in solitary confinement he was given six years of suspended sentence, banned from any union activities for five years and a financial fine of seven million Tomans by branch 15 of the revolutionary court. Due to extensive physical stress and tortures during interrogations, Mr. Shahabi suffered from back and neck dislocation and has had to go under surgery twice. After enduring prison for five years he is currently under medical leave of absence based on coroner’s recommendation. It should be noted that during his long incarceration Mr. Shahabi had to resort to hunger strike, four separate times, in protesting lack of medical attention to his deteriorating health conditions and the growing numbness of the left side of his body. His last hunger strike, to protest against his exile to Rajaee Shahr prison, lasted fifty-two days. Mr. Shahabi was prosecuted again in January of 2015 based on charges of “propagating against the system,” and sentenced to a year in prison, and this verdict was upheld in an appeals court. At the moment he has no source of income and is experiencing very hard circumstances; his multiple attempts to return to work through following up with the Labour Ministry has had no results. But Iran’s Ministry of Labour has reported to ILO that Mr. Shahabi has been released from prison and is back to work, which is totally untrue and baseless.

In 2015 only two days before the International Workers’ Day, two board members of Vahed Syndicate Messrs. Ebrahim Madadi and Davood Razavi were arrested. Mr. Ebrahim Madadi, vice chair of syndicate, has been repeatedly arrested solely because of his labour activism and was sentenced to three and half years of imprisonment, which he completed in Evin prison. He was arrested again by security forces on April 29, 2015 in his house. After spending twenty-two days in solitary confinement and posting a bail of hundred million Tomans he was freed from Evin prison’s ward 209. On April 16, 2016 he was prosecuted again but his sentence has not been announced yet. Mr. Davood Razavi is another syndicate member that was arrested along with Mr. Madadi on April 29, 2015. Security forces invaded Mr. Razavi’s residence at midnight, arresting him in his house and sent him to Evin prison’s ward 209. Mr. Razavi was freed after spending twenty-two days in jail, by bailing a bond of hundred million Tomans. He was again prosecuted on January 13, 2016 by branch 26 of the revolutionary court on charge of syndicalist activism and given a jail sentence for five years. This sentence was rebuked by his attorney and is now in the appeals process. The presiding judge has openly stated that the sentence against Davood Razavi is solely due to his continued syndicalist activities and his endeavor in pursuing the demands of TSBC’s workers and drivers, his participation in rallies in front of Tehran’s City Hall, his participation in May 1st event and participation in the rally in front of Labour Ministry demanding fair wages for workers.

During the past few years despite syndicate’s non-recognition by the government and all the repressive measures, incarceration, threats and expulsions the Vahed Syndicate has achieved significant achievements and noteworthy contributions for our members in particular and for Iranian labour movement in general; which will be briefly mentioned below: 
– Efforts to provide proper and affordable housing for drivers and workers, keeping in mind that over five thousand of TSBC employees lack adequate housing. We have been able to partially achieve this goal through repeated rallies dedicated to issue of housing for our members in front of Tehran’s City Hall and Tehran’s City Council, which has resulted in obtaining housing units, and housing benefits, for some of our members. This is an on-going initiative.
– We have also conducted a campaign for wage increases, which has occurred in two wage increases, after a campaign to classify job positions. Vahed Syndicate has been able to secure enhancement to housing subsidies and other work benefits for workers’ recreation, two sets of work clothing, milk and cake for workers’ breakfast, regular cash and non-cash monthly bounces….
– A significant and lasting achievement of the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company has been raising workers’ awareness about their fundamental rights and the right to have independent organizations within the Company and across the country. 
– Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company is the first independent labour organization in Iran that was formed after twenty-seven years and as such is considered a significant historical achievement in our country’s labour movement.

Pursuing the legitimate demands and the rights of our members has resulted in persistent repression of our union representatives by security forces. As a result, many of our members have been targets of expulsion from work, including but not limited to: 
– Mr. Hasan Saeidi has been expelled five times from his jobs due to his labour activism. 
– Four of our members; Ms. Farahnaz Shiri and Messrs. Hasan Saeidi, Vahid Feraydouni, Naser Moharamzadeh have been expelled from their positions for more than four years now, but due to Labour Ministry’s and security forces’ collusion they have not been able to go back to their jobs. 
– Another syndicate member Mr. Hossein Karimi Sabzevar has been expelled from his position since 2005, only because of his labour activism and Ministry of Labour has prevented him from returning to his previous position. 
– Two other members of syndicate, Messrs. Akbar Pirhadi and Hasan Karimi who were originally expelled in 2005 were finally able to return to work after six years of efforts by syndicate’s and their own numerous attempts, but unfortunately none of their unemployment and severance benefits which they were qualified to receive was paid to them because of Labour Ministry’s disapproval. Although the Ministry of Labour is obliged by the law to protect workers’ interests not only it does not pursue any grievances from workers but constantly reports false and untrue information and reports to ILO.

The Ministry of Labour and its elements are adamant to impose Islamic Labour Councils, which are thoroughly the puppets of the employers and directed by the government and have no support among workers and rank and file, as representatives of Iranian workers. Despite all the numerous documentations provided by syndicate members on various frauds committed by Islamic Labour Council within Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company, yet the Ministry of Labour has failed to take even a single action against them and keeps on insisting that these pseudo elements which are directed by the management and security forces be treated as workers’ representatives instead of syndicate delegates.

All the evidences and cases cited here are clear and egregious violation of internationally recognized and respected workers’ rights and ILO’s conventions, which Iranian government claims to abide by whenever it participates in international gatherings. But in practice Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company and all other independent labour organizations in Iran are deprived of even the most basic workers’ rights. Workers in other sectors are also faced with unbearable circumstances and any protest is answered through severe repression. Most recent examples are how mine workers in Bafgh and Khaton Abad have been arrested and tried. And, only a few days ago seventeen mine workers from “Agh-Dareh” gold mine in West Azarbaijan province were flogged in public as a punishment for their protest against job losses.

Our least expectation from ILO and the International Labour Conference is to seriously and strongly reprimand all representatives of Iranian government that participate in ILO gatherings and question them for the gross violation of workers’ basic rights in Iran. We demand pursuing all our grievances, regarding violation of our syndicate’s members’ rights, submitted to your organization. ILO ought to also pursue the cases of continued harassment and prosecution of Iranian teachers and all other labour activists in Iran. Once again, we declare that none of the individuals or organizations that have so far participated in ILO’s conferences under the title of workers or so called “workers’ representatives” (i.e. “High Center for Islamic Labour Councils” and “Workers House’, “High Assembly of the Workers’ Representatives” and “High Centre of Workers’ Guild Societies”) are legitimate or true representatives of Iranian workers; they are government sponsored entities and should not be accredited as “workers’ representatives” or “labour delegation”.

With special thanks.

Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company
June 1, 2016 (Khordad 12, 1395)
[email protected]
www.vahedsyndica.com

cc: ITF; The French Workers’ Collective in Support of Workers in Maghreb and Middle East (CGT, CFDT, UNSA, SOLIDAIRES, FSU), LO-Sweden, Transport Workers’ Union in Sweden, and other concerned trade union organizations internationally.
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Message of Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane Workers’ Syndicate to 105th International Labour Conference

On the occasion of ILO’s 105th Conference and the presence of Iranian delegation in that gathering we are obliged to disclose a few points on the status of Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane Workers’ Syndicate, which is a registered member of IUF global federation. Unfortunately, due to repressive and police state atmosphere imposed on independent labour activists and extensive legal prosecution of vanguard workers and their organizations and members, it is not possible for us to legally pursue our legitimate grievances. Thus the board members of Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane Workers’ Syndicate have taken the decision to inform you of our conditions and requesting from you to take necessary actions in accordance with conventions of ILO regarding independent labor organizations and to ask “delegates” from Iran including the Minister of Labour to act accordingly in order to address these issues.

The Iranian government is a signatory of ILO and as such required to be in compliance with ILO’s fundamental conventions, “even if they have not ratified the Conventions in question, have an obligation arising from the very fact of membership in the Organization to respect, to promote and to realize, in good faith and in accordance with the Constitution, the principles concerning the fundamental rights … including freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining”. However, in Iran all activities of independent labour organizations are prohibited and their members are severely prosecuted, expelled from work and incarcerated. We are calling for the respect of conventions 87 and 98, and strongly urge ILO to compel the Iranian government to respect and abide by these basic and internationally recognized norms.

We also demand that all expulsion orders against board members of Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane Workers’ Syndicate be revoked and they all be reinstated to their previous positions. It should be noted that the claim by Islamic Republic’s delegates at previous ILO Conference, in 2010, that Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane Workers’ Syndicate board members have not been imprisoned or expelled from their jobs is not true whatsoever. After hearing this untrue statement, we tried to pursue our case through Islamic Republic’s Ministry of Labour, but no one in there responded to any of our requests and we could not reach any conclusions. In addition to being expelled from our jobs, towards the end of 2010 all board members of Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane Workers’ Syndicate were forced to pledge not to undertake any further labour activism or be faced with renewed legal prosecution if any of us ever becomes engaged in syndicate activities again.

The track record of Iranian government as it has dealt with Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane Workers’ Syndicate or other independent labour organizations in general, and as it has treated the board members of Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane Workers’ Syndicate in particular، is a blatant and egregious violation of all ILO’s fundamental conventions and especially conventions 87 and 98, which emphasis the right to form independent labour organization and the right to organize and collective bargaining.

We are calling on ILO and 105th international Labour Conference not to be silent about violation of workers’ rights in Iran and hold the Iranian government accountable for violating all the basic rights of us workers.

Sincerely,
Board members of Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane Workers’ Syndicate
June 1, 2016 (12 Khordad 1395)
Feridoun Nikoufard, Jalil Ahmadi, Ramazan Alipour, Reza Rakhshan, Mohammad Haydari Mehr, Rahim Basak, Ali Nejati.

Cc: The International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations (IUF)
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Message of the Alborz Province Painters’ Syndicate (Iran) to the 105th Session of the International Labour Conference

Greetings,

In addition to thanking you for the opportunity given to the Alborz Province Painters’ Union, as far as possible, we would like to be the voice of all militant workers and the Iranian labour movement, even though we are a small part of it.
The founding committee of the union was formed in secret with the help of the late Shahrokh Zamani, and after forming its committees and recruiting members, the union began its activities on January 30th 2015 at a general assembly of about 380 people. The idea behind the Painters’ Union, just as any other independent trade union, is to realise the most basic and essential of rights for workers in this trade: insurance, job security, wage parity, recognition of technical skills and so on.

We mainly have to begin with the sad and recurring fact that the true representatives of the workers’ movement are not able to attend this Conference. This is because they are serving their prison sentences or are on hunger strike; or are out on medical leave from prison to receive treatment; or have been left in a state of uncertainty after their sentences were suspended. Some workers are even on the brink of being whipped, a medieval sentence for the ‘crime’ of involvement in trade union protests.

But this dire situation of the protesting workers and independent labour activists is nothing new, and at least eleven years ago, at the time of the International Labour Conference in 2005, activists of Iran’s independent labour organisations made many efforts to inform international trade unions and labour organisations involved in the ILO Conference about the plight of their fellow workers in Iran, and to get some solidarity action, or even symbolic action, to help them. In 2005 the Vahed Bus Company Syndicate’s activists, i.e., the elected and true representatives of that company’s workers, were attacked and beaten up by the “Worker’s House” and Islamic Councils’ thugs. But a few weeks later, while the Vahed union’s activists were in prison (!), the Iranian government sent the same thugs to your Conference as representatives of Iranian workers.

Despite eleven years of activity aimed at founding independent labour organisations, there has been no qualitative change in the situation of workers and independent labour organisations in Iran. On the one hand, there are still people from institutions such as the Worker’s House, the Supreme Council of Workers’ Deputies, the Supreme Council of Trade Associations and Islamic Labour Councils, who pose as workers’ representatives while participating in ILO (and similar organisations’) meetings. Not only are they not Iranian workers’ elected representatives but they have been the main and direct agents of the repression of Iranian workers’ struggles. On the other hand, independent labour activists and the genuine representatives of Iranian workers, those who with their persistent struggles over thirty-something years have attempted to found genuine organisations so that the continued attacks of the capitalist state can be neutralised and basic rights of independent unions (including the right to strike, health and safety improvements and wages increases so that workers’ families can have a life beyond poverty) can be achieved, are in prison.

Considering that for nearly two decades the Iranian government has justified its crackdown on the labour movement and workers’ basic rights (as well as all the oppressed layers of society) based on the threat of war and invasion, in the 10 months since the signing of the nuclear agreement we have not seen any improvement in Iranian workers’ situation. The improvement in diplomatic and trade relations has only lead to an increase in luxury goods in the shops and luxury cars in the streets! The dire economic situation of workers has continued and has become worse. Even just a few indices clearly show this:
* About 90% of the country’s workers are on temporary contracts, of which 67% are on temporary contracts with a date. The rest are on ‘blank contracts’ or have no contract at all (National Workers’ House Deputy).
* More than 7 million workers earn less than 812,000 toman (about $266) a month (Secretary of the Trade Associations).
* More than 60% of workers are forced to have two jobs (Head of “High Centre of Workers’ Guild Societies”).
* Every day four people in Iran die due to work-related accidents.
* Unemployment is the main cause of suicides and suicide is most prevalent among high school graduates (Chief of Ministry of Health’s Mental Health and Addiction Office). The rate of internet searches of suicide terms is growing in the country. According to Google, every month the word ‘suicide’ is searched more than 22,000 times – without taking into account the relevant phrases such as ‘suicide training’, ‘painless suicide’ and ‘suicide methods’.
* Last year 30,000 people lost their lives due to drug abuse (Deputy of the Counter-Narcotics Headquarters).
* Every day in Tehran seven children are born as drug addicts. Some parents sell their own children, the price of these children varies from 2 to 25 million toman ($656 to $8207).
The Iranian government’s simple answer to this situation is to remove the problem: either to shoot protesting workers (like the killing of Morteza Farajnia, an unemployed worker protesting in Behbahan, on November 15th 2015), or turning an industrial dispute into a criminal offense (with sentences including flogging, imprisonment and payment of cash fines, as with the 17 gold miners of Agh Dareh in West Azerbaijan Province, with complaints by the employer) or arrest and intimidation of activists.
Only in the past year at least 66 labour activists were arrested across the country: including the arrest of three labour activists in Sanandaj, one arrested in Tabriz, three workers in Tarzeh (Semnan), 10 labour activists in Asaluyeh, one labour activist in Tehran, 35 labour activists in Kerman, 12 labour activists in Dorood (Lorestan) and one labour activist in Bandar Lengeh.
Other tools of repression include suspended sentences or conditional releases that put labour activists in a position of uncertainty. This applies to Valeh Zamani, a member of the Alborz Province Painters’ Union, who is currently out on bail.
The Iranian government tries to suggest that any trade union action or workers’ protest is an act against national security, propaganda against the system and a crime. This procedure allows the state to take any arbitrary action. Many of the detainees have been abused, faced threats and extreme violence in prison. Last summer Shahrokh Zamani, a member of the founding board of the Syndicate of Building Paint Workers and the Committee to Pursue the Establishment of Workers Organizations, died of unknown causes in Gohardasht prison. So far the authorities have given no explanation and have remained silent regarding his death.
The Iranian government has not even signed conventions 87 (Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize) and 98 (Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining), so that it does not have any legal obligation to comply with them!

Instead it has set up organisations, which have no history other than co-operating with the security institutions and informing them about labour activists, co-operate with them and have a direct role in the repression of workers’ protests, holding bogus workers’ rallies in support of the factions in power, racist propaganda and demonstrations against Afghan migrant workers, especially on the International Labour Day; collusion with representatives of the bosses and the government in the Supreme Labour Council to impose on Iran’s workers a minimum wage that is four to five times below the poverty line.

In addition to these additional pressures on workers and independent workers’ organisations, state and government institutions are trying to impose on workers bogus and compliant organisations; organisations that without any vote by workers and without any independent election mechanisms have come into existence (with some of them existing only on paper), so that they can work at the international level and at meetings of international organisations and the ILO to gain legitimacy for the government.

Issues and topics mentioned in the above paragraphs show parts of the real life situation of the working class and its vanguards in Iran. The facts prove the opposite of claims made by Iranian officials at international gatherings that workers’ rights are observed. Considering these gross and limitless abuses against workers’ rights in Iran, we adamantly demand that agents of the Islamic Labour Councils, the Workers’ House and other state and anti-worker organisations, i.e. “High Assembly of the Workers’ Representatives” and “High Centre of Workers’ Guild Societies”, are prevented from being present at the ILO Conferences, and also that the current ban on the presence of genuine representatives of Iranian workers is lifted.

In the hope that all workers and independent labour organisations in Iran will be able to send their genuine representatives to the ILO Conference, we end our message with this question: considering that ILO constitution emphasises the independence of labour organisations, and that Iran’s independent labour organisations have for a long time protested about the presence of bogus workers’ delegates, what excuse or justification can still be given for the presence of the Iranian government’s representatives and the ILO’s appeasement policy towards them?

Sincerely,
Alborz Province Painters’ Syndicate (Iran)
June 1, 2016 (Khordad 12, 1395)

CC: Building and Wood Workers’ International (BWI) and other concerned labour organizations internationally. 
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From: Mahmoud Salehi

TO: International Labor Organization May 26, 2016

Open letter to the Executive Committee of International labor organization (ILO)

The official gathering of the ILO takes place on May 30th, 2016. The ILO was founded upon documents that sets labor standards including 1) setting working hours 2) setting working days and weeks 3) setting working conditions and contracts 4) combating unemployment 5) setting wage levels to ensure a decent living in accordance to modern standards 6) protecting workers against medical and professional illnesses 7) protecting workers against workplace injuries 8) protecting women, young and child laborers 9) supporting those unable to work as well as retirees 10) affirming the principle of equal pay for equal work 11) organizing professional labor trainings 12) supporting migrant workers as well as other principles that advances the interest of laborers.

The ILO is obligated to organize its membership meetings on a yearly basis. ILO, the only tripartite United Nation agency, brings together governments, employers and workers representatives of 180 member States. This year the aforementioned organization has invited 300 State representatives, 160 employers’ representatives, and 160 workers’ representatives. The three parties involved also have 900, 400, and 500 councillors respectively. The main decisions made at these annual events depends on the opinion of the executive members composed of 28 State representatives, 14 worker representatives as well as 14 employers’ representatives.

One of the main organizing bodies of ILO is the International Labour Office, which is the permanent secretariat ILO. Under the authority of the ILO’s governing constitution, the Office obligated to compile reports on the member States of the ILO on the basis of their compliance with the rules and regulations set therein. This report is submitted to the Executive Committee of the ILO as well as to its general body during its annual meeting. The office also has commissions that deals with problems and complains filed by employers and workers against member States. This complains have to be evaluated and submitted to the general body of the ILO.

The representatives member States are obligated to make the International Labour Office aware of their activities within their States. This includes an obligation to inform the Office of the submissions of its reports and declarations to the member State’s Executive Branch for the purpose of domestic ratification.

However, workers in Iran, including myself, are unaware of the report complied by the Iranian State’s representative to be submitted to the International Labour Office. 
Iranian workers are aware that most of the ILO member States are in non-compliance with its labour regulations. Since I am from Iran and I currently live in Iran, I would like to bring to the attention of the general body of the ILO, few instances of the violations of its declarations and labour regulations by my country.

Iranian workers recognize that the ILO is aware of violations and some State’s non-compliance with its rules and regulations. Yet, I, as a disabled worker who receives about 830 thousand Tomans, alongside the majority of workers in Iran who if happen to be lucky and receive their wages without lengthy delays and without cuts, live with minimum-wage salaries, affirm that our country refuses to ratify and comply with any of the declarations it has signed abroad into its domestic legislations. 
On various occasions and by various means, the Iranian workers have repeatedly contacted the ILO to inform the organizations of the violation of labor regulations in Iran. However, each time these complain was ignored by the general body of the ILO and we have not seen or heard any results in the ways in which these complains were handled.

We are well aware that the State representatives present at the ILO’s annual events do not report the real struggle of the Iranian laborers to you. In fact, we believe that these State representatives, who are carefully chosen by the Iranian government, not only misrepresent the Iranian laborers but also may directly be responsible for the non-compliance of the Iranian State with ILO’s labor regulations.

Dear Executive Director,

Are you aware that the State representatives do not report the struggles of the Iranian workers to international organizations? If you are aware, why will you not attempt to compile accurate reports by the real representatives of the Iranian workers? Some of these workers currently imprisoned or are threated with heavy prison sentences for representing the struggles and demands of workers in Iran. At least, you could attempt to contact independent media outlets, not state sponsored media, about the difficult working conditions of Iranian workers. These are the questions that are in the minds of Iranian workers: If the State representatives are unwilling to accurately represent the demands and struggles of the Iranian workers, why will you not use various technological means available to you and reach out to them directly about the difficult conditions in which they live in? Are you aware of the heavy prison sentences given to workers simply for demanding their rights, including the timely payments of their salaries? Are you aware that some of these workers are given prison sentences as well as cruel and corporal punishments? Are you informed that tens of workers are arrested simply for demanding employment? Are you familiar with the imprisoned workers Behnam Ibrahimzade and Reza Shahabi? Are you aware that even after they served their sentences, on the basis of new but false accusations, they are given repeated prison sentences? Are you aware that teachers in prison are protesting against the court procedures in which they were condemned to prison sentences? Some of these teachers are now in a hunger strike demanding that they would be tried in a public court rather than in private sessions.

Furthermore, are you aware that Jafar Azimzade is now under a life-threatining hunger strike protesting his unjust sentence of 6 years imprisonment under the accusations that he acted contrary to national security?! Are you aware that tens of other workers, all of whom are arrested with unsubstantiated charges including “acting contrary to national security” are given heavy imprisonment sentences? Among these workers I can name the following: 1) myself, Mahmud Salehi, with 9 years of conditional sentence 2) Osman Ismaeli 1 year conditional sentence 3) Jamil Mohammadi 3 years imprisonment 4) Hadi Tanuman 3.5 years of conditional sentence 5) Qasim Mustafapour 3.5 years of conditional sentence 6) Ibrahim Mustafapour 3.5 years of conditional sentence 7) Jamal Minashiri 3.5 years of conditional sentence and 8) Mohammad Karimi 3.5 years of conditional sentence. Currently these workers are discharged under bail and are awaiting the final decisions of the appeal court. Let me inform you that the only reason these workers were arrested and imprisoned was because they attempted to form independent syndics and workers’ assembly!! Are you not aware of the countless protests that happens on the streets, and factories and workplaces, against the violations of workers rights in Iran?

Dear Executive Director and members of the general assembly of the ILO, 
of rights and lawlessness in Iran and some other members of the ILO. But given of the tripartite structure of ILO that brings together the majority of state representatives as well as employers in its general assembly, some of who are directly responsible for the exploitation of workers, it is not possible for this organization to seriously consider enforcing or at least following up on its declarations in support of workers and labourers around the work. Indeed, workers have come to the conclusion that tripartite structure of the organization, which is endorsed by those who have an interest in perpetuating and continuing exploitation in society, is working against the demands of workers worldwide. It is a surprize that the ILO has turned into a decorative organization whoes declarations and resolutions are continuously ignored even by its own members.

With respect, 
Mahmoud Salehi
Address: Saqez, Kurdistan, Iran 
Shohada Street at Shaykh Shaltoot, 32 Shabnem alleyway 
Postal code: 6681115343 
Cellphone: 00989183747617
Home phone: 009836230975

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More background information: This IASWI special bulletin is prepared to widely share open letters issued by three of the most prominent and remaining independent labour organizations in Iran (i.e. Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company, Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane Workers’ Syndicate, Alborz Province Painters’ Syndicate). We have also included an open letter by Mahmoud Salehi, one of the most prominent labour activists in Iran.

The above workers’ syndicates (called Sandika in Iran) have been formed within the last decade in Iran despite severe repression of independent workers’ movement organizations. The formation of these organizations has contributed significantly to the growth of Iranian labour movement and the articulation of its demands in recent years. That’s why we have witnessed ongoing attempt by the Iranian government and its agents to silent and crush these genuine labour organizations and their activists.

IASWI once again reiterate the demands of the Iranian labour movement that “none of the individuals or organizations that have so far participated in ILO’s conferences under the title of workers or so called “workers’ representatives” (i.e. “High Center for Islamic Labour Councils” and “Workers House’, “High Assembly of the Workers’ Representatives” and “High Centre of Workers’ Guild Societies”) are legitimate or true representatives of Iranian workers; they are government sponsored entities and should not be accredited as “workers’ representatives” or “labour delegation”. We further call for their immediate expulsion from the International Labour Conference.

www.workers-iran.org

[email protected]

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Open Letter to 105th Session of the International Labour Conference – From Tehran Bus Workers’ Syndicate

Jafar Azimzadeh on his 41st day of hunger strike; 9 other mine workers received flogging sentences