News and Reports-Workers’ Struggles in Iran-Updates as October 7, 2008- IASWI

 ·        Growing campaigns for Afshin Shams’ freedom

·        Alborz Tire Workers vow further actions

·        A call for solidarity and financial support, by Workers of the Gharb–Baft Carpet Company

·        Growing solidarity and joint actions!

·        Gholamreza Gholamhosseini has been freed from detention
·        A Recent interview with Parvaneh Osanloo! Mansour Osanloo returned to the notorious Rajayi Shahr prison because “he talks”, Parvaneh was told by a judge! 

·        Support LabourStart Act NOW Campaign!
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Growing Campaigns for Afshin Shams’ Freedom!

The Committee to Help Form Workers’ Organizations in Iran organized a number of activities and events across the country in support of Mr. Afshin Shams, a worker activist who has been imprisoned for the past three months. These events took place in a number of cites in Northern and Western Iran and the following demands were put forward by workers:

– Free Afshin Shams immediately and unconditionally!

– Repeal the whipping and jail sentences against Sanandaj May Day participants!

– Put an end to intimidation, threats and prosecution of worker activists, including workers of Haft Tapeh Sugarcane Company and others.

– Stand in solidarity with fellow workers in Haft Tapeh, Alborz Tire, and textile companies of Kurdistan and brick kiln workers.

– Condemn all allegations and charges against workers and labour activists in Iran .

 

Background: Mr. Afshin Shams was arrested in July 2008. Mr. Shams is a labour activist, a member of “Coordinating Committee to Help Form Workers’ organizations”, a member of the “Committee in Defence of Mahmoud Salehi” and a member of ”Caricaturists Society”. See: http://www.komitteyehamahangi.com/

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Alborz Tire Workers Vow further Actions

Alborz Tire workers gathered outside the Ministry of labour in Tehran on October 5th, 2008. Also, on Thursday, October 2, 2008, over 400 workers of Alborz Tire Company staged a rally outside the Ministry of Labour in Tehran .  Security forces prevented workers from entering the Ministry’s building; however, after a few hours a deputy minister appeared in front of workers claiming that the state would loan one billion toman (about US$1,043,000.00) to the company. Alborz Tire used to be state-owned, under National Iranian Industries Organization, but got privatized in 1990s. Workers have demanded about 6 months of unpaid wages as well as the expulsion of the management of the company. Workers also announced that this company already owes tens of billions of tomans to the Social Security Organization and the Sepah Bank; thus this money will be useless for workers and they demanded the government take over and full payment of wages. Alborz Tire workers have been organizing numerous protest actions and strikes in the past few months. Since they have no established union or any other established independent labour organizations, they elected 20 workers as their representatives to pursue their demands. On October 6th, workers rejected the Ministry’s plan and vowed to rally outside the Parliament next week with their families if no effective actions were to be taken by the authorities. Among slogans that day, one said “workers have not been paid wages for 6 months, what about you Mr. Minister?” Over 1200 workers are employed by the Alborz Tire Manufacturing Company.

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A call for solidarity and financial support

By Workers of the Gharb–Baft Carpet Company

Workers of the Gharb–Baft Carpet Company in Sanandaj have been laid off by their employer. Although these workers complained to Labour and Social Affairs Office and won job reinstatement, the security forces called them agitators and forced them out of the factory. Following that, the employer provided fabricated documents and announced the dissolution of the company. Subsequently, the employer appealed the decision of the Labour and Social Affairs Office, as the result of which the *Disputes Board approved the termination of employment of all these workers.

According to the Islamic Republic of Iran Labour Code, the decision of the “Disputes Board shall be final and binding with immediate effect.” This means workers have been left without any legal support. Basically, all the laws have been in favour of the employer.

Workers of Gharb Baft Carpet Company have been without financial support and wages during this time and they are extremely desperate as their rents are not paid and they were not able to afford their children’s back to school supplies and clothes. These fellow workers have called on their colleagues in Iran and around the world to support their struggle for saving their jobs and to secure their most basic needs.

Concerned labour activists and sympathizers are encouraged to provide financial support to Gharb-Baft workers directly by depositing money into their joint account in Iran , which is as follows:

030419702007 Account number:

Type of Account: SIBA

Account names: MR. Saeid Habibzadeh and Mr. Seyed Hassan Vahedi

Bank Melli Iran (BMI), Golshan Branch, Sanandaj, Kurdistan Province , Iran

 

Workers of the Gharb–Baft Carpet Company

Distributed by: The Coordinating Committee to Help Form Workers’ Organizations

 

*According to the Sec. 160 of the IRI’s Labour Code, the Disputes Board of a province shall be composed as follows:

– three workers’ representatives, to be chosen by the Coordination Centre of the Islamic Labour Councils of the province, or by the Centre of Workers’ Guild Societies or by the Assembly of Workers’ Representatives of the units of the region;

– three employers’ representatives to be chosen by managers of the units in the region;

– three government representatives, namely the Director General of Labour and Social Affairs, the Governor, and the Chief of the Justice Department of the locality or their representatives.

 

Since there is no independent unions or councils of workers in these dispute boards, as the Islamic labour councils are in fact government-sponsored agents, in reality workers have no genuine voices in these dispute boards whatsoever; furthermore, even if workers were genuinely represented in the dispute boards, since the majority of the board members are the representatives of the anti-worker government and employers, their helpfulness for workers is highly doubtful.  (Comments by the translator, IASWI)

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Growing Solidarity and joint actions!

Workers of Gharb–Baft Carpet, Parris Textile and Sanandaj Textile companies have been making coordinated efforts in recent weeks to fight back against lay offs, factory closures and non-payment of wages. They have jointly organized protest actions outside the Kurdistan Governor’s office and the branch of the Ministry of labour in Sanandaj during mid September. They were joined also by Shahoo factory workers and other colleagues in Sanandaj Despite the lack of independent labour organizations, councils or federations, these workers have been able to transform their isolated struggles, organize joint jeneral assemblies and build bridges with their colleagues in other factories, not only in Sanandaj but also in Tehran with Alborz Tire workers, etc.

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Gholamreza Gholamhosseini has been freed from detention

Gholamreza Gholamhosseini, an Executive Board Member of the Syndicate of Tehran and Suburbs Vahed Bus Company, who was arrested on June 24, 2008 and had been incarcerated in Evin prison, was released on bail on September 16, 2008. Mr. Gholamhosseini’s bail was set at $100,000,000 Toman (about US$104,000). He is expected to appear in court in near future to face charges.

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A Recent interview with Parvaneh Osanloo

http://www.labourstart.org/cgi-bin/show_news.pl?country=Iran

Mansour Osanloo returned to the notorious Rajayi Shahr prison because “he talks”, Parvaneh was told by a judge! 

Mansoor Osanloo, the union activist and leader who has been imprisoned in the past two years on the charge of organizing the independent Tehran ’s Bus Drivers Union, is being kept in the maximum security criminals’ ward of Rajayi Shahr prison where the most notorious criminals are being held. In the recent months, despite his serious heart and eye condition, Mansoor has been denied medical care among other things. Mansoor’s wife, Parvaneh Osanloo, explained the current situation in an interview that was published online this week.

Parvaneh expresses her amazement upon hearing Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s claim in last week interviews during a UN visit that all prisoners in Iran are tried publicly and are never denied representation by defense attorneys. This was clearly not the case for Parvaneh’s husband; listening to Ahnadinejad’s pretensions in front of the foreign media, Parvaneh wonders why her husband has been denied basic rights such as medical care for so many months despite his failing health.

“After several months of delay, my husband was finally taken to hospital on the September 20th” Parvaneh says, hoping to receive medical treatment for both an infection in his eye resulting from a recent operation and for his dangerously high blood pressure. In the hospital and in transfer, Parvaneh explains “he was put in handcuffs and shackles.” This made the situation so traumatic that the medical doctor in the hospital decided to write a letter to the prison officials requesting that they “refrain from using such instruments” because “it causes too much stress” on a patient with a heart condition.

All this happened after Mansoor was denied medical care earlier this month and was instead transferred to a maximum security prison facility and was denied any communication with outside for several days. The transfer was explained to Parvaneh as being conducted under orders from “the head of the Province of Tehran ’s Security Council” and “the Head of Iran’s Prisons Association.” Parvaneh was told by the judge that Mr. Osanloo has been transferred to the Rajayi Shahr prison because he talks.

Doctors had concluded previously, after medical examinations, that Mansoor needed to spend at least 6 weeks in rehabilitation, Parvaneh explains. However, he has been so far denied even a single day of medical leave from prison.

As far as working with the Islamic judicial system of Iran goes, Parvaneh explains that although she has been in contact with several defense attorneys, she has realized that these attorneys cannot do much for her husband as the Iranian government and judicial authorities categorically ignore any effort concerning Mansoor.

“Mansoor has spent 18 consecutive months in prison now” Parvaneh says, and “much as we understand the economic hardships that the union members are grappling with in their everyday lives, we wish they could have done more to make Mansoor’s case visible to the authorities.”

Parvaneh, now the sole source of income for Osanloo family, currently has to work several shifts a day and use the time that has been designated as the annual “paid holiday time” to follow up on the situation of her husband. 

“Mansoor is in jail not because he wanted to” Parvaneh says, “but because he stood up for the rights of his comrades and co-workers; defending the rights of the working people is not a crime and therefore, my husband has done nothing illegal or against the national security. Everything that he has done is legal and legitimate.”

Summarized and translated from the original source in Farsi: http://www.shahrgon.com/index.php?news=2024

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LabourStart Act NOW!
Iran : Protest intensified repression against labour activists – No to whippings and executions! Click: http://www.labourstart.org/cgi-bin/solidarityforever/show_campaign.cgi?c=416
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Click here for sample protest letter: http://www.workers-iran.org/News/Protest%20against%20the%20outrageous%20whipping%20sentences,%20Aug%202008.htm

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For more information, contact info@workers-iran.org or alliance@workers-iran.org

International Alliance in Support of Workers in Iran (IASWI)

Background Information: www.workers-iran.org

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