Global unions launch UN complaint over Iranian repression

Submitted by Janine on Fri, 07/28/2006 - 11:47

This press release was issued on 25th July. I am glad to say that my own union, RMT has circulated and supported it. While we oppose a war against Iran, this can not become an excuse to prettify the regime or for trade unions to forget that their basic duty of solidarity is towards workers, against whichever regime is oppressing them.

Global union the ITF and international union body the ICFTU today made a formal complaint against Iran to the ILO (International Labour Organization) following the continued use of terror tactics against one of the ITF’s member unions there.

The union bodies today submitted a dossier detailing continuing repression against the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company (Sherkat-e Vahed) that is not just contrary to all norms of justice and human rights but is in direct contravention of the very principles to which the Islamic Republic of Iran signed up when it joined the ILO.

Since it was set up as an independent trade union in 2005 the Syndicate, which is affiliated to the ITF, has been subjected to an ongoing campaign of harassment, arrests and physical attacks. These include the continuing detention of the union’s President Mansoor Osanloo - see www.itfglobal.org/press-area/index.cfm/pressdetail/718/region/1/section/0/order/1

Guy Ryder, General Secretary of the ICFTU, commented: “The Iranian government is mistaken if it believes that a continued campaign of terrorising the Sherkat-e Vahed workers will stifle either their resolve to fight for the fundamental right to belong to a union of their choice, or the international trade union movement’s resolve to support them in that fight. We will continue raising the plight of these workers with all the relevant authorities and applying pressure wherever possible to convince the Iranian government to respect workers’ rights.”

Mac Urata, Secretary of the ITF’s Inland Transport Section, said: “The request by thousands of workers at the bus company that they be allowed the basic right to represent themselves has been answered by boots, batons and beatings. This union has become a beacon both inside Iran and beyond. Maybe that’s why the government and its puppet ‘Workers’ House’ organisations are so determined to stamp it out. Only they’re forgetting that the eyes of workers around the world are now on them, and we intend to keep exposing their terror tactics until Mansoor Osanloo is released and workers are allowed the freedom of assembly that Iran, through its very membership of the ILO, is sworn to uphold.”

For more information see also here and here. A number of protest letters have been addressed to the Iranian authorities, and can be seen here.

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