The TUC is alarmed by recent reports that the Iranian government is attacking and detaining workers for engaging in trade union activity.
We’re calling on the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to release each and every detained trade unionist immediately.
And we want the regime to stop oppressing and attacking workers who are simply trying to exercise their legitimate right to organise and bargain collectively for better terms and conditions at work.
The Iranian regime has been hostile to trade unions for years, but attacks on trade unionists have escalated since over 3,500 steel workers from the western City of Ahvaz went a strike 40 days ago.
They’re demanding four months of unpaid wages and the end of the National Bank of Iran’s ownership and control over the company they work for.
The workers are clear that the NBI has greatly mismanaged their industry, leading to a sharp rise in corruption and “mafia”.
Since starting the strike, Ahvaz steel workers have been protesting on the streets every day.
But at around 2am on Monday 17 December, security and intelligence forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran raided their residences and arrested 30 workers, including key strike organisers.
Despite these arrests and further threats from the security forces, workers continued to protest on Monday.
In addition to their original demands, workers in Ahvaz and across Iran are now calling for the release of all detainees and the resignation of the local governor.
The Iranian government’s hostility towards trade unionists has also led to many other workers, students and teachers being incarcerated in recent months.
The TUC has highlighted some of these cases and protested about them in the strongest terms to the Iranian government.
Back in May, our General Secretary Frances O’Grady wrote to the Iranian Ambassador in the UK calling for the immediate release of Esmail Abdi, General Secretary of the Iranian Teachers’ Trade Association, who was jailed for six years for peaceful trade union activities.
Since then more protests have sprung up against privatisation policies, corruption and repression. Many protests have also called for jailed workers and students to be set free.
The TUC strongly condemns the arrests of the striking steel workers and calls for their immediate and unconditional release.
And we demand that the Iranian authorities respect and protect the right of everyone to form and join the trade union of their choice.
This right is guaranteed under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), both of which Iran has ratified.
The international trade union movement is now watching for a response – and we won’t take no for an answer.
We demand the Iranian authorities release every trade unionist listed below and stops attacking workers in Iran immediately!
1. Meisam Ali Ghanavati
2. Esa Mar’ie
3. Amin Alavani
4. Morteza Akbarian
5. Taregh Khalfi
6. Massoud Efri
7. Jafar Sobhani
8. Mostafa Abiat
9. Gharib Havizavi
10. Hossein Davoudi
11. Karim Siahi
12. Hamed Baseri
13. Hafez Kan’ani
14. Hamed Judaki
15. Kazem Heidari
16. Yaser Ebrahimian
17. Majid Janadeleh
18. Kuroush Esmaieli
19. Ali Oghaba
20. Mohsen Balouti
21. Mohammad Pour Hassan
22. Mohsen Behbahani
23. Seyed Habib Tabatabaie
24. Jasem Roumazi
25. Ali Etmami
26. Seyed Ali Javadpour
27 Javad Gholami
28. Abdolreza Dasti
29.Seid Ahmed Seid Noor
30. Fariborz Sheikh Robat
31 Ehsan Yousefi