Esmail Abdi of the Iranian Teachers' Trade Association
Take action on Iran’s crackdowns on teachers & journalists
Perhaps upset that it somehow missed out on inclusion in the ITUC list of the ten worst countries to be a trade unionist last month, Iran has made a strong early bid to be included next year by sacking all the journalists who report officially on industrial disputes and arresting the leader of a teachers’ union en route to the global teacher union conference in Canada later this month. There’s an urgent action over at LabourStart where you can call for the release of Esmail Abdi, and please tell your friends and colleagues to do so as well.
Our friends at CODIR report that the entire labour news team of the ILNA (the state-run Iranian Labour News Agency) were sacked for reporting labour news objectively, as opposed to the way their management wanted and attempting to establish a trade union in order to protect their conditions of service and job security.
Meanwhile, Esmail Abdi, General Secretary of the Iranian Teachers’ Trade Association (ITTA) was stopped on the Iranian border with Armenia on 21 June, when attempting to pass through a border crossing on his way to Ottawa, Canada to participate in the Education International global congress. Instead he was asked to report to the notorious Evin prison. CODIR report that Esmail has been in trouble with the authorities of the Islamic Republic over the protest by Iranian teachers demanding better salaries, improved conditions of service and job security. Nearly 70 teachers accompanied him when he reported to Evin prison on 27 June, worried that the authorities might attempt to arrest him, as turned out to be the case.
In May this year, coinciding with the protests of teachers across the country, he had already been summoned to prison and told that a previous 10-year sentence, imposed for trade union activity, would be implemented unless he resigned from the teachers’ union and the post of General Secretary. He joins in jail several other teacher union leaders: Rasoul Bodaghi (jailed since September 2009), Mahmood Bagheri, Aliakbar Baghani (Board member and secretary of ITTA) and Alireza Hashemi, general secretary of Iran’s Teachers’ Organisation.
Education International have written to the Iranian government seeking his release.