Tehran bus workers step up protests

Bus workers step up protests as more strikers are confirmed sacked; Hayat Gheibi released following a hunger strike.

Mansoor Hayat Gheibi, member of the executive board of Tehran bus workers' union, was released on 10 April following several days of hunger strike. Although out of prison once on 19 March, along with a number of other colleagues, Hayat Gheibi was re-arrested shortly afterwards. Last week he began a hunger strike in protest at his continued detention.

However, union leader Mansoor Ossanlou continues to be detained since 22 December 2005 without any charges or access to a lawyer. He is suffering from a number of medical conditions, including a newly contracted skin disease.

Meanwhile the bus workers have called for another day of action on Wednesday 12 April, in front of the offices of the state-owned Vahed bus company, to press for the release of Ossanlou and reinstatement of up to 1,000 laid-off workers.

These workers remain locked out without any pay since their release following powerful worldwide protests by international trade unions and human rights organisations. On 9 March the 'termination of contracts' of 46 workers - most union activists - was announced. Also, last Wednesday, 5 April, the workers, protesting outside the bus company's headquarters, were told that another 116 workers have been formally sacked, though no names were released.

A 'disciplinary committee' is reportedly working its way through a long list of workers to be fired for their part in the strike of 28 January. The strike had been called to press for the release of Mansoor Ossanlou, recognition of the bus workers' union and collective bargaining.

Letters of protest may be sent to the President of the Islamic Republic, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, at dr-ahmadinejad@president.ir.

The locked-out workers and their families are in urgent need of financial support. Please contribute to Tehran Bus Workers Relief Fund at the bank account below, notifying us at the same time for an acknowledgement:

NatWest, England
Account no: 49606174
Sort code: 600738

From: International Labour Solidarity Committee of the Worker-communist Party of Iran