The Second Independent Workers’ Syndicate in Iran in More Than Two Decades

·        The Second Independent Workers’ Syndicate in Iran in More Than Two Decades!
·        Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane Company Workers’ Syndicate elected its first Executive Board!

·        Send Solidarity Greetings to Haft Tapeh Workers’ Syndicate!
 Other recent news:

·        The judiciary sentenced 4 labour activists, members of Tehran Bus Workers’ Syndicate

·        Afshin Shams put on trial

·        Ashkan China Factory workers Seize the factory’s machinery

________________________________________________________

 
Click for background information since 2007: http://www.workers-iran.org/News/Haft%20Tapeh%20Struggles%20since%202007.htm
 
Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane workers formally re-established their labour union, called Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane Company Workers’ Syndicate (Sandikaa-ye Kargaran-e Sherkat-e Neyshekar-e Haft Tapeh) on October 22, 2008. Haft Tapeh workers’ original syndicate was established back in 1973, but the Iranian government had crushed and banned all free and independent labour organizations in Iran from early 1980s. After the formation of the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company this is the second genuine workers’ union that has been formed through workers direct involvement and election of the executive board. Both elections took place without the permission of the Ministry of Labour. The Iranian government is in favour of state-sponsored Islamic labour councils as opposed to autonomous workers’ organizations.

The Haft Tapeh sugar cane Company (full name:  Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane Plantation and Industry Company) is an industrial complex, with about 5000 workforce, in city of Shoush in Southern Khouzestan province in Iran .  For the past year and half to two years, Haft Tapeh workers have been engaged in numerous strikes, job actions and protests for non-payment of wages and a list of other demands (see the link below). Throughout this time, workers have been trying to form their union despite serious government barriers, arrests, intimidation and prosecution of workers’ leaders. In spring 2008, Haft Tapeh workers formed a committee to re-launch their organization which was banned since 19080s. Following numerous efforts, they were able to organize an election during which workers voted in favour of the Syndicate’s constitution and elected their executive board members. The following statement was posted on the Haft Tapeh Workers’ Syndicate website: (http://7tapeh.blogfa.com/post-38.aspx):

“This morning, Wednesday 22 October 2008: voting on the trade union’s constitution and elections for
This morning, as the workers were preparing themselves for the elections, they were confronted by a notice which banned them from taking part in the elections and made the elections conditional on getting the Labour Office’s permission.

The elections began at 8am and continued until noon. Next to every ballot box four observers from the plantation and the factory sections were present and, after the ballot boxes were transferred to another place, the votes were counted by the observers.

It should be mentioned that even though there was little time for voting (around four hours), as well as the obstacles that had been created and the [general] atmosphere at the factory, over 1000 workers took part in the vote.

During the voting the security forces were present but no specific clashes took place.

At these elections the following Steering Committee members were elected:

1- Fereydoon Nikoofard, 919 votes. 2- Nejat Dahli, 667. 3- Ali Nejati, 578. 4- Rahim Bes-hagh, 540. 5- Jalil Ahmadi, 398. 6- Ali Sharifi, 394. 7- Reza Rakhshan, 352. 8- Mohammad Heydarimehr, 302 . 9- Ghorban Alipoor, 284.

Through the consistent and active work of the workers the elections were conducted with complete order and fairness.

A full report and the names of the alternate members will be announced soon.

The Founding Committee of the Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane Workers’ Trade Union”
_____________________________________________________________________

Please send your solidarity greetings to Haft Tapeh workers’ newly formed union.
Sample Letter:
To Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane Company Workers’ Syndicate
I (we) am (are) writing this letter to congratulate you and all workers in Iran for your successful general election of your executive board members and other representatives for the first time in more than two decades. For your courageous efforts to form an independent labour organization despite all systemic barriers, we salute you and express our solidarity and support. We also send this message to the Iranian government’s authorities to respect workers’ rights to organize, assemble and strike, put an end to persecution of labour activists and not to interfere in the affairs of independent workers’ organizations.
In solidarity,
Name
Organization
Send your solidarity greetings directly to Haft Tapeh Workers’ Syndicate (syndica7tape@gmail.com / http://7tapeh.blogfa.com). CC to info@workers-iran.org, especially for translation from English, French, German, Spanish, and Swedish to Farsi.
Click for background information since 2007: http://www.workers-iran.org/News/Haft%20Tapeh%20Struggles%20since%202007.htm
Other recent news:

The judiciary sentenced 4 labour activists, members of Tehran Bus Workers’ Syndicate

ILNA news agency and the Tehran Bus Workers’ Syndicate report that four activists of the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Vahed Bus Company were sentenced from 6 to 14 months suspended prison sentences. They are Atta Baba-khani, Saeed Torabian, Yaghoub Salimi and Alizad Hosseini. These labour activists had previously been arrested following a job action in winter 2006 and were later released on bail. They have been charged with “propaganda against the system and taking action against national security”. The syndicate’s lawyer, Mr. Parviz Khorshid, has denied all these charges and stated that they will appeal all of them as these labour activists were only engaged in legitimate trade union activities.   The syndicate’s president of the board, Mansoor Osanloo, is still in jail serving a five-year term.

Afshin Shams put on trial

Mr. Afshani Shams who is a labour activist and a member of the Coordinating Committee to Help Form Workers’ Organizations in Iran was put on trial in City of Isfahan on Ocotber 21, 2008. Mr. Mohammad Sharif represented Afshin Shams ass his lawyer. Mr. Sharif requested a release on bail for Afshain but the judge refused that and informed that they would finalize the case against Afshin in about 15 days. 

Ashkan China Factory workers Seize the factory’s machinery

According to the Committee to Pursue the Establishment of Free Workers’ Organizations in Iran, workers in Ashkan China factory staged in protest against non-payment of their wages for the past few months. Workers decided to occupy the factory and seize the factory’s machinery as compensation for unpaid wages. The factory’s owner sent a message that he would bring money for workers and they should not touch the machinery but no money has yet arrived. Workers had contacted the judiciary but no positive response were given to them. The Central Bank of Iran also sent a message to workers that the assets and machinery of the company belong to the Central Bank and that workers had no rights to seize them and they must not be damaged. The security forces have also been dispatched to end the take over; however as of this report, workers still had the control of the factory’s machinery. ______________________________________________________________________

            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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