Tag Archives: Haft Tapeh

May Day statement in support of workers in Iran

Over the last year workers in Iran have struggled on several fronts. The subsidy cuts coupled with the crisis in world capitalism are driving living standards down for the majority of Iranians. Basic food stuffs are rising in price at a phenomenal rate, with bread rising a massive 25% and unsubsidised fuel increasing 7 fold. This is in a country with the third largest oil reserves in the world and the necessary refining abilities to produce cheap and affordable fuel for the entire population. The sanctions regime continues to undermine Iranian industry, robbing many workers of their jobs whilst the elite continue to amass great wealth. We stand with the Iranian working class fighting austerity and call for an end to all sanctions. We also call for the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners.

 

There have been important centres of working class resistance where the working class has shown its strength. At the Alborz tyre factory in Iran over 800 workers have held protests outside of the presidential office after 9 months of unpaid wages. There has been a recurring struggle over wages being withheld on a regular basis since privatisation of the factory in 1991.

 

The state-run Haft Tapeh sugar cane factory workers have faced consistent repression and attempts to crush their union. Ali Nejati, the President of the Union, is in prison and in ill health facing further charges of endangering national security. This continued repression, failure to pay wages and the refusal of the management to allow sacked workers to return have forced workers to down tools and strike several times over the last 12 months.

 

The strikes in the Petrochemical industry starting on March 19 at the Imam Port complex were contagious and spread across the industry. The initial demands focused on ending the current contract system that offers only precarious work and little security. Thousands of workers have been on strike demanding the introduction of the 2005 directives on hiring.

 

At the Pars Paper Company over a thousand of workers struck in defence of 60 laid off workers who had been at the company for over 10 years. In Qazvin workers at multiple textile plants have struck against unpaid wages, with some workers going unpaid for over a year. They were also joined by workers from the city’s Ziaran slaughterhouse who have unpaid wage claims going back two years.

 

At Iran Khodro the overworked yet militant workforce has continued to be a beacon of resistance. In January 4 workers were killed and 13 injured as a worker who was ill and tired after repeated back-to-back shifts collapsed at the wheel of the truck he was driving. Workers immediately demonstrated and called on the CEO to resign. Scuffles broke out between security and revolutionary guards.

 

The protest movement that erupted in 2009 was savagely put down by the security forces with violence not witnessed since 1999. Many leaders and activists remain in jail, many have fled and gone underground and hundreds have been murdered. Yet flickers of open defiance continue and below the surface the Iranian masses have rejected the theocratic regime. It is only a matter of time until mass action will threaten the existence of the Islamic Republic.

 

The uprisings in the region are a nightmare vision of the future for the regime as the revolts creep closer to the border. The imperialists have also suffered defeats, with Mubarak, a lynchpin of their domination, falling along with Tunisia’s Ben Ali. Yemen’s Saleh is soon to go. In this chaotic atmosphere the war threat has increased as we must not rule out further military action by the imperialists to demonstrate their power and reassert political domination. As part of threatening war with Iran, Saudi troops have gone in to suppress the people in Bahrain. This is what the intervention in Libya is about: not protecting civilians. The current interventions in the region must end and there must be no attack on Iran.

 

Hands Off the People of Iran reiterates our commitment to oppose the war threat and sanctions whilst supporting the struggle against the theocratic regime.



Hands Off the People of Iran Steering Committee

Workers’ Minimal Demands on the Occasion of the Thirty First Anniversary of the February 1979 Revolution

Struggle against the regime
Struggle against the regime

Four independent workers organizations have issued a communique honoring the thirty first anniversary of the 1979 revolution in Iran.  A translation is provided below:

Thirty-one years have passed since the February 1979 revolution.  At that time millions of Iranian people, full of hope for a better life, took to the streets in order to break the yoke of despotism and repression.  A nationwide strike lead by workers at the National Oil Company, the vanguard of the Iranian working class, shut down oil pipelines, ultimately tearing the despotic regime asunder. Masses of people chanted, “Our oil workers! Our resolute leader!” Power fell to the people.

February 11, 1979, a day that marks an end to despotism, is a day that calls forth unforgettable memories of men and women, young and old, who had grown tired of repression and injustice; people embraced one another in the streets, cried out with joy, and, with tears in their eyes, looked forward to a liberated future.

Now, thirty one years have passed since those glorious days full of enchantment and rebirth.  Yet, today the feelings of hope, enchantment, and glory, has been transformed into nothing but misery, destitution, unemployment, sub-poverty wages, and subsidies cuts—unbearable agony for millions of workers and wage earners.

Life continues. And, the Iranian people still have a burning desire for change. They have not lost their hope for life, their yearning for happiness, freedom, dignity.

Born of democratic struggle, strikes, protests, and the campaign to establish independent organizations on its behalf, the working class has fought for its right to survive. Many of us now sit in jail for attempting to organize the working class and build a better life.

But these jail cells do not mark the end of the road. We millions are the producers of wealth, the wheels of production. Society moves only because we move it. We have at our back the historical experience of the united and grand strike of the oil workers during the February revolution. Relying on this experience and the power of our millions we inspire the best and most humanistic aspirations of the 1979 revolution. Today, after thirty-one years, we present our minimal demands and call for immediate and unconditional realization of all of them:

1.  Unconditional recognition of independent workers organizations, the right to strikes, to organize protests, the freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, and freedom to associate with any political party.

2.  An immediate stop to all executions, and the immediate and unconditional release of labor and other political activists from jail.

3.  Immediate increase of the minimum wage based on workers input through their representatives in general workers assemblies.

4.  End to Subsidies Rationalization Plan and delayed wages of workers should be immediately paid without any excuses.

5.  Job security for workers and all wage earners, the end to all temporary contracts and blank signatures, removal of all government-run organizations in the work place, institution of new labor laws through direct participation of the workers in their general workers assemblies.

6.  Halt to all firings under any circumstances. Anyone expelled or at employment age must benefit from social security in line with human dignity.

7.  End of all discriminatory laws against women and insuring full and unconditional equality of women and men in all aspects of social, economic, political, cultural, and family affairs.

8.  Insuring all the retired with a life of welfare, devoid of economic anxieties, putting an end to all discriminatory payment practices, and allowing everyone to benefit from social and medical services.

9.  All children, irrespective of their parents’ economic and social status, gender, nationality, race, and religion, must be granted free and equal educational, welfare, and health care benefits.

10.  May 1st must be declared a national holiday and included in the official calendar; all legal restrictions on its celebration must be removed.

Tehran and Municipality Bus Workers Syndicate

Haft Tapeh Sugar Refinery Workers Syndicate

Free Assembly of Iranian Workers

Kermanshah Electrical and Metal Workers Guild

 

From Iran Labour Report