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Iran: stop oppressing trade unionists

Published date
The TUC strongly condemns the arrests of the striking steel workers and calls for their immediate and unconditional release

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.

Midnight raids

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.

A history of repression

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

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