Thursday 6 March was a day of action for Iranian trade unionists facing political repression, jail and torture. The Rail, Maritime and Transport Union organised leafletting at stations in London, Edinburgh, Bristol Cardiff and Liverpool for the jailed Iranian trade unionists Mansoor Ossanloo and Mahmoud Salehi.
This action is an important example to trade unionists across Britain of the kind of work needed to put real international pressure on the Iranian government.
Mansour Osanloo belongs to the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company, a trade union founded three years ago.
He has been beaten, kidnapped, arrested and had his tongue sliced as a warning against speaking out. He is now being held in Evin Prison in Tehran, where he is in danger of losing his sight due to an eye injury.
Even though the union is free, democratic and legal, it has been violently attacked by Iranian security forces.
The action was called on March 6 because this is two weeks prior to the Iranian Parliamentary elections. Oppression of the independent workers’ movement in Iran is growing.
Find out more about the campaign and stay in touch with all campaign developments at the ITF website:
• For further details visit the ITF website: www.itfglobal.org
Iranian workers lashed
Last week, the Iranian Workers’ Solidarity Network reported that three labour activists who were arrested and tried following last year’s May Day celebrations had each been lashed 10 times. The appeal court in Sanandaj, in Iranian Kurdistan, sentenced 11 workers who took part in a May Day event in 2007 to receive 10 lashes and pay a 2 million rials ($214) fine. The sentences of the other eight activists are expected to be carried out in the next few days.
These workers, most of whom are members of the Unemployed Union, have been found guilty of “disturbing public order” and “taking part in an illegal gathering”. Some are also awaiting the outcome of their appeals against sentences of two and half years in jail. If they go down, they will join Mansoor Osanloo, Mahmoud Salehi and countless other socialists and trade unionists imprisoned by the regime.
Although the whipping of women’s rights activists stretches back to 1981 and the consolidation of the Islamic regime, this is the first time that labour activists have been sentenced to be lashed.
It is all the more reason for workers of the world to make solidarity with Iranian workers a high priority in the labour movement.