Issue date
10 May 2019

We publicly express solidarity with Iran’s oppressed workers and support for their protests and strikes to achieve basic rights in Iran.

The TUC is appalled by recent reports that the Iranian government is attacking and detaining workers for engaging in trade union activity. This includes the heavy police and plain-clothes presence at the May Day event held by the Vahed Syndicate in Tehran, which was supported by other independent labour and student organisations. According to reports, security and intelligence forces attacked participants half an hour after they had gathered at the rally, violently assaulting several people. More than twenty were reportedly arrested.

The TUC stands with the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company. We strongly condemn the violent crackdown of protesters by the security forces and call for the immediate and unconditional release of all May Day detainees.

Workers in Iran, like every worker in the world, have every right to gather and protest in public to make their voices and demands heard. The right to organise and the freedom of expression and association are part of our internationally recognised rights. The continued repression of workers in Iran and members of the Vahed Syndicate must stop.

The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is a major employer in Iran. The IRGC and its agents exert maximum pressure on workers by withholding their wages for months or years. The situation for Iranian workers is worsening by the day, with poverty, unemployment, and inflation a growing concern. Every strike and every legitimate demand for rights is branded an act against national security and met with arrests, harassment and abuse.

The TUC continues to call on the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to respect workers’ rights, to release each and every detained trade unionist immediately and to uphold its international obligations 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 TUC and the global trade union movement are watching. Our demands must be met urgently!