Support Bus workers in Iran

Submitted by Pete on 13 May, 2005 - 9:09

Statement of Campaign in Defence of Bus Company Workers of Sherkat Vahed

For further information see full account on Laborstart site.On Monday May 9, 2005, a mob of about 300 thugs of Labour House and Islamic Councils raided the meeting place of the newly formed Union of Bus Workers of Sherkat Vahed in Tehran. They smashed windows and doors, tore up documents and attacked Union members. The raid took place in presence of the Islamic Republic’s Security Forces. During this attack, Mr Mansoor Osanlo was hit so badly that he needed stitches to his tongue and neck at the hospital, before being taken away for questioning by the Security Forces.

Although they have taken a more covered-up approach in the recent years, the Labour House and Islamic Councils thugs are well known for their role in suppression of workers. This time again with the formation of an organisation, the thugs attacked workers with batons and knives.

Among the mob there were such people as Hasan Sadeghi (Head of Co-ordinating Committee of Islamic councils of the County), Abbar Eyvazi (Labour House), Hasan Bahrami, Eskandar Nasiri, Mahdavi Khah, Alireza Ahmadi, Sarvandi and Jalal Saeed Manesh (from the Islamic Council of Sherkat Vahed bus company) and Amani (Security of Sherkat Vahed).

The thugs of the Islamic Councils and Labour House were widely used in early years of the Islamic Republic’s rule whenever the Islamic Republic considered them more appropriate than Security Forces to confront workers. The use of thugs so openly, indicates that the regime does not see direct confrontation with workers in its benefit.

The Campaign in Defence of Union of Sherkat Vahed Bus Company intends to gather wise scale support for the bus workers. We urge all trade unions, human rights and workers organisations to support bus workers and put pressure on the ILO to enlist the Labour House and the Islamic Councils as anti-worker organisations.

Mahmood Ghazvini
Spokesperson of the Campaign in Defence of Bus Company Workers
mkazvini@hotmail.com
51603121 0045

Address
Mahmoud Ghazvini
Campaign in Defence of Bus Company Workers
Griffenfeldsgade 41, 2200 kbh. N
Denmark
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Please send letters of protest to:
Mr Seyd Mohammad Khatami
President
The Presidency
Palestine Avenue, Azerbaijan Intersection
Tehran

Comments

Submitted by Pete on Sat, 14/05/2005 - 10:19

This letter was sent in protest at the attacks on Iranian unions and activists. Other unions should be asked to send similar protests and seek to make direct links to those under attack.
PR
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Mr. Seyed Mohammad Khatami
President
Palestine Avenue, Azerbaijan Intersection
Tehran
Islamic Republic of Iran

98-21-648.06.65
Email: khatami@president.ir

TUR/FW 10 May 2005

Dear President,

Automobile factory worker arrested on and missing since 12 April 2005, and violent attack on premises of a union

On behalf of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU), which represents more than 145 million workers through its 233 affiliated trade union centres in 154 countries and territories worldwide, I am writing to you to protest strongly at some recent events that seriously affect Iranian workers' rights.

First, I would like to voice our strong concern following the detention and "disappearance" of Mr. Parviz Salarvand, a worker at the Iran Khodro automobile construction company. According to our information, workers have started to protest last year, and again in recent months, at deteriorating working conditions at the company, as management has systematically been pressuring the workers in order to obtain a higher output. Workers are not allowed to form their own labour organization and many of them are currently being hired on a temporary contract basis, which makes them ineligible for the benefits that permanent employees enjoy. According to our sources, management had furthermore announced the deduction of their new year's bonuses and proclaimed the unequal treatment of permanent and temporary contract workers.

After having expressed sympathy for the demands of the temporary workers, Mr. Parviz Salarvand was arrested by the company’s security department on 12 April 2005. Subsequently he was, in an allegedly brutal way, interrogated in the basement of the security section of the company, and has not been heard of for 25 days. After that period, the company's security department confirmed that he is being detained, but refused to give any more comments.

Another very worrying event occurred yesterday, Monday 9 May, when reportedly more than 300 men of the Iranian Workers' House (Khaneh Kargar) and of the Islamic Shora of the Vahed Bus Company in Tehran attacked a meeting of the founding committee of this company's workers' union. This meeting was taking place in the premises of the Bakery Workers’ Association.

Around 2 pm, when the members of the founding committee were having lunch, they noticed the arrival of a large number of security forces in front of the union offices. We were informed that a few minutes later, around 12 buses containing more than 300 men of the Workers' House and the Islamic Shora arrived. They immediately started to tear down the union's premises, to smash up doors and windows, to tear up documents, to destroy library books and to attack about 10 members of the founding committee.

All this took place while the security forces were present and even filmed the incident. They nevertheless confiscated press cameras and tape recorders from the ISNA news agency and newspaper reporters. Some attackers held placards with slogans such as "death to hypocrites" and "trade unions, a refuge of Taghout", the latter being a known reference to the previous monarchy.

One of the attackers allegedly intended to cut the tongue and neck of founding committee member Mr. Mansour Ossanlou, with a knife, while the Chief Executive of the Supreme Council for the Coordination of Islamic Shoras, Mr. Hassan Sadeghi, tied Mr. Ossanlou’s hands behind his back, for the attacker to get on with the assault. Mansour Ossanlou afterwards had to be taken to the hospital, where his neck and tongue had to be stitched.

The ICFTU denounces these recent developments, and particularly their violent nature. In view of the many recent violations of trade union rights in Iran, we would like to remind you that Iran must respect internationally recognized workers' and democratic rights, such as the right to freedom of association. As a member of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), Iran is under an obligation to respect and enforce the fundamental principles enshrined in Conventions 87 and 98 on the right to freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining.

We therefore urge you, Mr. President, to order the immediate and unconditional release of Mr. Parviz Salarvand as well as an investigation into this incident, and to see to it that such violent attacks on peaceful and legitimate union meetings do not occur again.
I look forward to your swift and decisive action in this matter.

Yours sincerely,

General Secretary

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