Solidarity Center Demands Release of Striking Iranian Bus Drivers
ICFTU Department of Trade Union Rights:
More than 500 Union Members Still in Prison After Police Crackdown
Washington, DC, February 1, 2006—The Solidarity Center joins the global labor movement in calling for the release of more than 500 Iranian bus drivers, who are still in prison after police cracked down on a planned January 28 strike. The drivers are being held in Tehran’s Evin Prison. They have not been charged and have no access to counsel.
On January 28, 2006, the Syndicate of Workers of the Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company (Sherkat-e Vahed), called the strike to protest the detention of union President Mansoor Osanloo and to demand that the government recognize their right to a union and to a collective bargaining agreement. In response, the government and public transportation company dispatched thousands of security and armed forces using tear gas, batons and threats to shoot the strikers. Hundreds have been arrested at their homes, including some spouses and children.
“Iranian workers must be free to exercise their fundamental worker rights to join a union and to engage in collective bargaining as protected by international covenants,” said Solidarity Center Executive Director Barbara Shailor. “The Solidarity Center joins the global labor movement in demanding that the Iranian government respect these rights and immediately release the detained union members.”
Contact: Cathy Feingold 202-778-4507
Greetings Persian friends and colleagues:
On January 28, 2006, the Syndicate of Workers of the Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company (Sherkat-e Vahed), called a strike to protest the detention of union President Mansoor Osanloo and to demand that the government recognize their right to a union and to a collective bargaining agreement. In response, the government and public transportation company dispatched thousands of security and armed forces using tear gas, batons and threats to shoot the strikers. Hundreds have been arrested at their homes, including some spouses and children.
In response, the International labor (International Confederation for Free Trade Unions) and human rights communities have mounted a campaign for the release of the imprisoned workers and recognition of their union and their demands and have determined February 15th as the International Day of Support for Iranian Workers. We invite members of the Iranian-American community in Washington DC to join the AFL-CIO, the Solidarity Center and the DC Metro Labor Council in a solidarity demonstration with striking bus drivers in Iran.
When: February 15, 2006 at 12pm
Where: Iranian Interest Section 2209 Wisconsin Avenue,
More information: Contact Cathy Feingold
CFeingold@solidaritycenter.org or 202-778-4507
***Transportation will be provided for interested participants at 11:40 am leaving from the Solidarity Center at 1925 K St. NW Washington DC, 20010 (Metro: Farragut North (red line) and Farragut West (orange/blue line)*** READ MORE
Please spend your lunch-hour showing your support for the hard-working and courageous members of this Union.
Iran: International Day of Trade Union Action, Wednesday 15 February 2006
Further to our message on 1 February concerning continuing repression against the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company ("Sherkat-e Vahed" company), an in particular, the arrests of hundreds of participants in the strike of 28 January, we are now writing to confirm that we are requesting all affiliates and Global Union Federations to join in a International Day of Trade Union Action on Iran on Wednesday 15 February 2006. This call is issued on behalf of Global Unions (representing the Global Union Federations, the ICFTU and the TUAC-OECD).
According to our latest information, up to 1300 workers may be detained in Tehran's Evin Prison, which is overflowing with detained union members and activists. Unconfirmed reports suggest at least some of those detained have gone on hunger strike. The Iranian government, Tehran City authorities and the Sherkat-e Vahed management are actively trying to impose an information blackout on the union's actions. Relatives of our sources on the spot have again been intimidated and threatened not to provide information about these events.
Many trade union organisations in various part of the world have already protested to the Iranian government about these events and we would like to thank them for their action. Rallies with important union participation have already been held in front of Iran's embassies in Canada and the United Kingdom (photos are available on request). It is however important to keep up this mobilisation and make the 15 February Day of Action a resounding success. We encourage union organisations in all countries hosting an Iranian embassy to ask for an appointment with the Ambassador and/or hold a protest rally outside the embassy's premises. (A new list of Iran's embassies around the world is attached to this message). If useful, you may wish to present the embassy with your own version of the model-letter included in our earlier message.
If there is no Iranian embassy in your country, you may consider visiting your Ministry/Office of Foreign Affairs to raise your concern; holding a press conference; organizing a petition, or taking any other action which you consider appropriate.
Here are some slogans which you may consider using on 15 February:
* Recognise trade union rights in Iran!
* Release Mansour Osanloo and all detained Sharket-e Vahed unionists!
* Sharket-e Vahed Management respect union rights!
* Collective agreement at Sharket-e Vahed Now!
* Pay wage arrears to Vahed's unionists now!
In order to encourage our Iranian brothers and sisters in this dispute, we would like to use our webpage to update the worldwide events. We would appreciate it very much if you could email us your report of the protest day (along with a photograph) at your earliest convenience. Any other information related to your organisation's action in this case will also be much appreciated.
Please inform us as soon as possible about your organisation's intentions with respect to the 15 February Day of Action.
With best regards,
ICFTU Department of Trade Union Rights