Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Automobile Factory Worker Arrested On And Missing Since 12 April 2005

International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU):
Automobile Factory Worker Arrested On And Missing Since 12 April 2005, And Violent Attack On Premises Of A Union. READ MORE

Mr. Seyed Mohammad Khatami
Palestine Avenue, Azerbaijan Intersection
Islamic Republic of Iran


TUR/FW 10 May 2005

Dear President,

Automobile factory worker arrested on and missing since 12 April 2005, and violent attack on premises of a union

On behalf of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU), which represents more than 145 million workers through its 233 affiliated trade union centres in 154 countries and territories worldwide, I am writing to you to protest strongly at some recent events that seriously affect Iranian workers' rights.

First, I would like to voice our strong concern following the detention and "disappearance" of Mr. Parviz Salarvand, a worker at the Iran Khodro automobile construction company. According to our information, workers have started to protest last year, and again in recent months, at deteriorating working conditions at the company, as management has systematically been pressuring the workers in order to obtain a higher output. Workers are not allowed to form their own labour organization and many of them are currently being hired on a temporary contract basis, which makes them ineligible for the benefits that permanent employees enjoy. According to our sources, management had furthermore announced the deduction of their new year's bonuses and proclaimed the unequal treatment of permanent and temporary contract workers.

After having expressed sympathy for the demands of the temporary workers, Mr. Parviz Salarvand was arrested by the company’s security department on 12 April 2005. Subsequently he was, in an allegedly brutal way, interrogated in the basement of the security section of the company, and has not been heard of for 25 days. After that period, the company's security department confirmed that he is being detained, but refused to give any more comments.

Another very worrying event occurred yesterday, Monday 9 May, when reportedly more than 300 men of the Iranian Workers' House (Khaneh Kargar) and of the Islamic Shora of the Vahed Bus Company in Tehran attacked a meeting of the founding committee of this company's workers' union. This meeting was taking place in the premises of the Bakery Workers’ Association.

Around 2 pm, when the members of the founding committee were having lunch, they noticed the arrival of a large number of security forces in front of the union offices. We were informed that a few minutes later, around 12 buses containing more than 300 men of the Workers' House and the Islamic Shora arrived. They immediately started to tear down the union's premises, to smash up doors and windows, to tear up documents, to destroy library books and to attack about 10 members of the founding committee.

All this took place while the security forces were present and even filmed the incident. They nevertheless confiscated press cameras and tape recorders from the ISNA news agency and newspaper reporters. Some attackers held placards with slogans such as "death to hypocrites" and "trade unions, a refuge of Taghout", the latter being a known reference to the previous monarchy.

One of the attackers allegedly intended to cut the tongue and neck of founding committee member Mr. Mansour Ossanlou, with a knife, while the Chief Executive of the Supreme Council for the Coordination of Islamic Shoras, Mr. Hassan Sadeghi, tied Mr. Ossanlou’s hands behind his back, for the attacker to get on with the assault. Mansour Ossanlou afterwards had to be taken to the hospital, where his neck and tongue had to be stitched.

The ICFTU denounces these recent developments, and particularly their violent nature. In view of the many recent violations of trade union rights in Iran, we would like to remind you that Iran must respect internationally recognized workers' and democratic rights, such as the right to freedom of association. As a member of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), Iran is under an obligation to respect and enforce the fundamental principles enshrined in Conventions 87 and 98 on the right to freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining.

We therefore urge you, Mr. President, to order the immediate and unconditional release of Mr. Parviz Salarvand as well as an investigation into this incident, and to see to it that such violent attacks on peaceful and legitimate union meetings do not occur again.
I look forward to your swift and decisive action in this matter.

Yours sincerely,

General Secretary