H.E. Mr Hamid Baeidinejad
Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran
16 Prince’s Gate
28 November 2018
I write on behalf of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) representing over 5.5 million workers in the UK to denounce the actions of the Iranian authorities who have withheld workers' wages and arrested trade union activists taking part in ongoing peaceful demonstrations.
Workers at the Haft Tapeh sugar complex in Shush continue their 18-day strike and mass protests to claim wages which have not been paid since August against a background of skyrocketing living costs. On 14 November, protesting workers gathered in front of the offices of two local members of Parliament and then moved the protest to the Khuzestan governor's office when the MPs failed to respond. The protests then returned to Shush.
On 18 November, 18 prominent workers activists were arrested. Four of the arrested activists - Mohsen Fazeli, Ismael Bakhashi, Mohammad Khanifar and Moslem Armand - have been taken to Ahvaz prison, where they have been denied access to legal counsel. Reza Rakhshan, a veteran union leader of the independent Haft Tapeh workers union who previously served time in prison for his union activities in 2010-11, has been under constant surveillance and summoned repeatedly to court.
The strike and protests by workers and their families have continued, with the workers calling for payment of their unpaid wages and the release of all the detained and arrested.
We call on the Iranian government to ensure full payment of wages, the withdrawal of the military, release of the arrested and convene negotiations with the workers' representatives.
We request that the Iranian authorities respect and protect the right of everyone to form and join the trade union of their choice, which 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.
I look forward to hearing that our urgent call has been conveyed to the Iranian authorities.