Message from Iranian Workers Free Trade Union
23 June 2009
Forty-eight days have passed since the suppression and arrest of workers’ gathering on International Labour Day – May Day. During this time our country has witnessed important events and we witness widespread and amazing changes in the social movement.
During their televised debates the presidential candidates repeatedly accused each other of violating citizens’ rights, embezzlement, theft, mismanagement, and incompetence. But none of them had any objection to the laws that have allowed the disastrous events affecting the majority of the population. None of them had any objection to legislation that takes away a worker’s right to strike, sets his wages at a quarter of what is the government’s poverty line, takes away the workers right to set up their own organisations, allows mass lay-offs, forces workers to sign blank contracts a one-month temporary contract .
The presidential candidates failed to take up issues regarding freedom of speech, the right to choose one’s dress, and hundreds of other inhuman laws that today govern our society. When they raise any issue it was in a superficial way, every one of them attempted to clear himself and accuse the others, as if his opponent had been more strict than himself. In all those debates, clearly and in confronting each other, the candidates themselves proved that they accept all the current laws and conditions and that their only quarrel is on who should be in power.
Therefore, we workers, under the present conditions, when social protests have taken the form of a mass and a huge movement has come on the scene to achieve its demands, see it as our right to put forward the demands of fellow workers and to raise our banner. These demands are as follows:
- Immediate increase in the minimum wage to over 1 million tomans [$1010] a month.
- An end to temporary contracts and new forms of work contracts.
- The disbanding of the Labour House and the Islamic Labour Councils as government organisations in the factories and workshops, and the setting up of shoras [councils] and other workers’ organisations independent from the government.
- Immediate payment of workers’ unpaid wages without any excuses.
- An end to laying-off workers and payment of adequate unemployment insurance to all unemployed workers.
- The immediate release of all political prisoners including the workers arrested on May Day, Jafar Azimzadeh, Gholamreza Khani, Said Yuzi, Said Rostami, Mehdi Farahi-Shandiz, Kaveh Mozafari, Mansour Osanloo and Ebrahim Madadi, and an end to surveillance and harassment of workers and labour leaders.
- The right to strike, protest, assemble and the freedom of speech and the press are the workers’ absolute right.
- An end to sexual discrimination, child labour and the sacking of foreign workers.
Workers! Today we have a duty to intervene, to pose our demands independently and by relying on our own united strength, together with other sections of society, to work towards achieving our human rights.
The Free Trade Union of Iranian Workers