The Shahrokh Zamani Action Committee is calling on union branches to discuss the following motion:
This union branch notes that:
∙ The July 2015 nuclear deal between the Iranian regime and the US and European governments has opened up trade and diplomatic relations.
∙There are now many international organisations like the World Bank, IMF and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) advising the Iranian regime on modernising its methods of exploiting waged labour.
∙So far there has been no ‘peace dividend’ for Iranian workers, economically or otherwise; as shown by the flogging of 17 gold miners in late May 2016.
∙Sajid Javid’s imminent trip to Iran, as with David Cameron’s appointment of Norman Lamont as British trade envoy, and the various investments summits, are all aimed at maximising profits and not workers’ rights.
We further note that:
∙ The continuing plight of the working people of Iran: unemployment is still 11.8% and is predicted to stay between 10% and 12% for a number of years, with youth unemployment at around 25%; inflation is now supposed to be 8.9% but many workers still cannot make ends meet; around 18% of children suffer from malnutrition.
∙ The continued imprisonment and repression of workers, teachers and other political activists for exercising what should be considered basic democratic rights such as forming independent trade unions, expressing dissent and calling for equality for women, national minorities, the disabled, LGBTQ people and so on.
∙ Despite the continuing repression there has been a resurgence in the workers’ movement. So far, these protests and strikes have been relatively small (just a few hundred workers at a time) and spread out. However, they are increasing in frequency and cover nearly all economic sectors: from automotive to the metro, from miners to nurses, from oil refining to steel, from sugar cane workers to teachers and so on.
This union branch believes that:
∙ European and American capitalists and their governments will not allow the rights of workers to form independent trade unions and the right to strike, or women’s equal treatment by the state and society, or the rights of national and religious minorities and all other oppressed layers in Iranian society, to come in the way of the multi-billion pound trade and investment deals that they and their Iranian counterparts are planning.
Inside Iran the economic benefits of the new deals have gone to Iran’s capitalists and the regime’s officials in the state bureaucracy, military and clergy. So while workers’ expectations have been raised - and they can see the luxury cars and all the money that the regime’s officials are flashing about - their standard of living is sinking ever lower.
The aim of the ILO is to bring the worst aspects of European and American trade unionism into Iran; to set up compliant or even neutered trade unions. This new danger can only be thwarted by militant labour activists intervening in all rank and file workers’ organisations.
∙ The struggle to win independent trade unions in Iran is linked to the struggle to defend our class elsewhere. While there are differences many of the same issues are occurring in Europe (e.g., the Trade Union Act in Britain and the new Labour Law in France) which show that the capitalist offensive is very similar everywhere. The only way workers can win their struggles against these attacks is through strengthening their cross-border solidarity.
The union branch resolves to:
∙ Publicise issues like political executions, political prisoners, detention without trial, torture, flogging and other abuses that sustain the dictatorship in Iran.
∙ Expose the hypocrisy of our own government which, while espousing democracy, curtails our freedoms here and makes lucrative deals with Iran’s despots.
∙ Support the struggle for independent trade unions and the right to strike with practical activities such as pickets of the IRI embassy, email campaigns and letter writing, attending demonstrations and solidarity photo-calls.
∙ Consider making a one-off or more regular donation to the Shahrokh Zamani Action Campaign and encourage members to make individual donations.
(Bank account: ‘WSN’ – Sort code: 60-83-01 -Account Number: 20018467)..