Saturday, April 28, 2012

May 1,2012 and the labour / workers situation in Iran under Islamic Republic regime. Major Political parties and organizations and Labour / workers unions opposed to regime policies are illegal and regime is calling them as " counter revolutionaries " ! : 153 April 12, 2012
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In Celebration of the International Labour Day
In Solidarity with Iranian Workers
Labour activists in Iran are under suppression
Labour rights violations by the government and the employers, trade unions are prohibited
Despite the significant rise in Iran’s oil incomes, there has been a continuous deterioration of the
workers’, employees’ and retired persons’ standard of living both in the public and the private sector.
In fact, not only workers and employees have been deprived of their share of the 100 billions of
annual oil incomes, but the real income of workers is less than a few years ago. The number of
workers whose incomes have been pushed below the line of poverty has been increased to 70 %. On
the other hand, the rich maintaining close relations to the government are given even more from the
country’s wealth. These developments are opposed to President Ahmadinejad’s slogans who began
his presidency approximately 7 years ago with the promise to distribute the oil incomes onto the
Iranian households.
According to the current Iranian legislation, workers’ incomes must be adapted to the inflation rate
and the costs of living each year. But during the last three decades, this regulation has either been
neglected or realised in a way insufficient to compensate the real inflation rate and the price
increases. For example, the inflation rate according to the Iranian Institute for Statistics is 26,5 %,
according to the Research Committee of the Iranian Parliament 30 %, and according to economic
experts about 50 %, but, like previous years, in this year the wages were increased by only 18 %. Even
after this increase the Iranian workers’ wages are about one third of the level which has been
defined as the line of poverty. In the previous months alone, about 40 % of the workers’ real income
has vanished due to the sharp decline of the Iranian currency’s exchange rate. As a result, more and
more workers have been forced into poverty. As a fact, the distribution of wealth in Iran which has
been unequal before is now even more unjust in spite of the increase in the country’s national
One year and a half ago, with the ratification of the new law on the so-called ”Goal-oriented”
subsidies, the reduction of public subsidies financed by the oil incomes began. Following the
execution of this law and the deregulation of the prices, inflation and price increases made a leap
upwards, causing a crisis in the industrial and agricultural sectors. This law produced more poverty
and injustice through shortening the ordinary people’s share of oil incomes which were realised
through the subsidies.
Unemployment Rising
In addition to more poverty, a deeper class divide and social injustice, unemployment which has a
decisive impact on increasing poverty has been increasing continuously and sharply during the whole
presidency of Ahmadinejad compared to the years before. Now, unemployment is one the most
serious problems of the Iranian society. According to the latest official statistics, unemployment is
now between 12,8% and 14,5 %. Some Parliament members estimate unemployment at 25%. But
independent experts who disclaim the government statistics say that unemployment in Iran exceeds
25 %. Unemployment in Iran has been aggravated since last year, when some subsidies were
abolished, fuel prices were multiplied, economic sanctions started, the economic crisis in the
manufacturing industries was amplified and the currency exchange rate fluctuation were
accelerated. Within the past one year, 1,3 million people have lost their jobs and joined the
unemployed. There are signs showing that the unemployment increase is fastening. The government
has proven to be incompetent and lacking any initiative and the necessary well-thought programme
to defy unemployment.
Weakening Labour Legislation and Social Care
Since the current government has come into office, over half of the workers who previously were in
permanent or long-term employment have been forced into limited and short-term engagements.
Many economic and legal rights are reserved for permanently employed workers and do not apply to
those with limited-time contracts. In addition, employers and company managers can lay off
temporary workers every three months without any grounds. In fact, currently 70 % of the workers
employed in the private and public sectors have been excepted from the protection through labour
legislation and lost any professional and social security. Furthermore, legal rights of the workers to
whom labour legislation applies have been virtually lowered to a negligible level because of the
changes made in the labour legislation to turn the latter more employer-friendly. As if all of this has
not been enough, the government has sent a new bill to parliament aimed at the abolition of all
remaining regulation in favour of the working class.
Increased Suppression of Trade Union Activities, Ban on Strikes
Aligned with the aggravated economic crisis, unemployment, hyper-inflation, lagging of wages
behind the prices and anti-labour changes to legislation, workers’ protests and strikes have been
spread to the same extent, although strikes and trade unions are forbidden and the atmosphere of
suppression has been fortified. There have been many attempts by workers and employees to found
trade unions or other labour organisations, leading to a number of trade unions and organisations.
But since the beginning of these activities, their organisers and leaders have been subject to
intensified prosecution and pressure from the security forces and the police. Many of them have
been arrested and sentenced to prison just for taking steps towards the organisation of trade unions.
Some of them have been laid off, others been forced to give up their activities. Currently many of the
activists and leaders of trade unions as well as representatives of teachers’ organisations are kept in
prison, although international labour federations, human rights organisations and the International
Labour Organisation have protested against these illegal imprisonments. Some of them have been
sentenced to death only because of their trade union activities, including Abdorreza Ghanbari, a
teacher and university lecturer. Four other members of the teachers’ union are in prison since years:
Ali Poursoleimani, Mohammad Davari, Abdollah Momeni and Rasoul Bodaghi. Reza Shahabi and Ali
Nejati are still in prison despite of their critical health conditions. Ebrahim Madadi, vice president of
Tehran Public Transport Workers Organisation, is in prison since three years. Mansour Osanlou who,
afters years in prison, was released a few months ago due to his deteriorated health and
international pressure, is virtually under house arrest and close surveillance. During the last months,
one leader of the Free Workers Union of Iran, one leader of the Centre for Defending Workers Rights
as well as the organisers of protests and unions in Kurdistan and Azerbaijan have be arrested. While
the suppression and prosecution against workers organisations have become an inseparable part of
regime’s policy, many organisations of employers have been founded under state protection and are
organising their activities without any obstacles. Some of them are enjoying various forms of state
protection. But workers and employees whose rights and achievements are under heavy attacks by
the government and the employers, workers who have been forced into poverty, are deprived of
their right to organise. The Iranian worker’s demand towards the international trade unions and
labour parties, human rights organisations and other political and social bodies is to use all
appropriate forms to impose pressure on the Iranian government in order that the professional
rights of Iranian workers are recognised, trade union activists are released from prison and workers
are allowed to take part in trade union activities and improve their rights and the economic and
social conditions of their lives. Especially, those parties and governments who claim to defend justice
and equality while maintaining close trade relations to the Iranian government and being silent on
the suppression of workers movements in Iran, should condemn the repressive policies of the Iranian
regime and defend the rights of the Iranian workers in order to prove their claims.
Sadegh Kargar
Chairman of the Workers Group
Organisation of Iranian People’s Fadaian Organisation (Majority)

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