Solidarity with Iranian trade unionists

Submitted by AWL on 22 February, 2008 - 12:11 Author: Harry Glass

International union federations are organising a global action day on 6 March to express our solidarity with Iranian workers.

The day of action is demanding that Mansour Osanloo and Mahmoud Salehi are released immediately and unconditionally from prison. The TUC, RMT, ASLEF, T&G Section of UNITE, UNISON and GMB unions in Britain and hundreds of others internationally are backing action on the day.

The campaign is also demanding respect for fundamental workers’ rights in Iran. The imprisonment of Osanloo and Salehi are not isolated cases. Nine education workers were sentenced to 91 days in prison recently. The Iranian authorities claim they are “threats to the national security” although in reality, it is genuine trade union activities they want to crush.

Reports from Iran indicate that Osanloo and Salehi continue to suffer in prison. Najibeh Salehzadeh, Salehi’s wife and his lawyer visited him in prison on 7 February and after a row with the authorities were allowed to see him. They reported his health has greatly deteriorated. They demanded that Salehi be released by the Iranian New Year (20 March).

Mansour Osanloo is also suffering from ill health. According to his lawyer, he received eye surgery in late January but was sent back to Evin prison just a few days after the operation, despite doctor’s recommending five weeks convalescence.

His comrades in the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Vahed Bus Company are also being victimised. Some 26 activists from the union who are still suspended from the jobs are facing severe financial hardships and at times cannot feed their own children. The authorities have been trying to force them into exile outside Tehran. They are not receiving any pay, benefits or compensation. Some face further charges for union activities.

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