Union struggles in Iran continue
Despite continued harassment and violence, independent trade unionism keeps popping up in Iran. This month, there were strikes among cement workers in Isfahan and call centre staff in Shiraz. And we continue to highlight the plight of jailed trade unionists from the transport and food sectors, such as Ali Nejati of the Haft Tapeh Sugar Union – you can take action now to protest at his continued detention without proper medical assistance, as part of an International Union of Foodworkers campaign to prevent Iranian government attempts to close the union down.
Seven hundred contract workers at the Sepahan Cement factory in Isfahan struck to protest about not being paid the wages they were promised and protested on the factory grounds. Meanwhile, more than 100 telephone information centre workers in Shiraz went on strike to protest new contracts with lower pay and benefits. The ITUC estimates that 70% of workers in Iran are on temporary contracts, although the figure is probably higher in the private sector.
We have also just received support for our campaign from Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt MP, who responded to the letter Brendan Barber sent in May to the Iranian Embassy in Paris (the London one is closed) about the incarceration of Tehran bus workers’ leaders Reza Shahabi and Zabihollah Bagheri:
“The ongoing discrimination against members of the trade union movement in Iran is entirely unacceptable. I share your concern about the cases of trade unionists Zabihollah Bagheri and Reza Shahabi and wholeheartedly support your call for them both to be released.”