From the UK’s Iraq Union Solidarity, March 17:
Support the Tehran busworkers!
Since April 2005, Tehran busworkers have combatted mass jailings and sackings to insist on their right to form a union and claim unpaid wages. Most recently, bus workers protesting the laying off of hundreds of their colleagues for taking part in a strike on 28th January were handed a list of 46 confirmed dismissals. The list includes five members of the union’s executive who are still in prison.
The state-owned company (Sherkat e Vahed) said the orders came from the Islamic regime’s intelligence authorities. Earlier, workers had been told that a “disciplinary committee” has been set up which is working its way through a long list of workers to be expelled for their participation in the strike. Around 1,000 detained bus workers, recently released following worldwide protests, have been locked out of their workplaces. They have been without pay for the past six weeks.
Six members of the bus workers’ union executive (the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs United Bus Company) and two labour activists who had expressed support for the bus strike are still being held in the high security Evin Prison without being formally charged and without access to a lawyer. They include union leader Mansoor Ossanlou, who has been in prison since 22 December 2005 and suffers from a heart condition and an eye injury sustained in an attack last May on a meeting of the union.
On 13 March around 120 workers once again gathered outside various government offices and the bus company headquarters in protest at the continued barring of around 1,000 bus workers from work. The workers were told that a decision will be made by Saturday 18 March. While opposing US military attacks on Iran, we should also support Iran’s workers against the vile regime of the Islamic Republic. Letters of protest may be sent to Iran’s President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Thanks for information to the International Labour Solidarity Committee of the Worker-Communist Party of Iran, who have set up a Relief Fund for the locked-out busworkers…
The International Confederation of Free Trade Unions has also backed the busworkers.
The Iran regime change desk at the State Department has already taken note of the bus strike, and growing repression in Iran generally. Why is the left so silent on this? If we rally to the oppressors of the Iranian workers, we cannot complain if they take the bait from the State Department.