200 imprisoned union bus workers released; all were denied the right to return to their jobs. Hundreds more are still in prison.
According to the reports by Mr. Gholamreza Mirzaei, the current spokesperson of the Syndicate of workers of the Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company, about 200 workers have thus far been released following the mass arrests on January 28th. Mr. Mirzaei reported that none of the 200 released workers have been able to return to their jobs and hundreds others are still in prison.
The company has refused to reinstate their jobs. Workers have been told that all the cases related to the employment of the Vahed workers and those arrested must be dealt with at the office of the Ministry of Labour at the Tehran East. The Syndicate has been trying to deal with this issue through contacts with the Ministry of Labor officials, which has not successfully taken place amid the intimidations and the threats of further arrests.
In addition, Mr. Mirzaei reported that on Monday, February 6, 2006, the security forces arrested another member of the board of directors of the Syndicate, Mr. Hassan Mohammadi, who got arrested while visiting his mother. The security forces raided his mother’s rental apartment, entering through the roof, without any previous notices given to her or to the landlord.
During the past couple of weeks, countless protest letters have been sent to Ahmadinejad and we have seen a number of protest demonstrations with the participation of Iranian labour activists abroad and labour organizations in different countries, from Canada and United Kingdom to the Sweden and Germany. These actions are absolutely important and necessary. However, as the Iranian government is escalating its repressive measures against workers, it is crucial to intensify pressures on this government in various ways including sustained pressure on all relevant authorities of the Iranian government and all embassies of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
As the Amnesty International has correctly pointed out, the Iranian government is supposed to be bounded by a number of international treaties including International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and International Labour Conventions. It is absolutely unacceptable that Tehran transport workers are still behind bars for demanding their most basic rights. The Iranian labour movement, particularly the Tehran transport workers’ union, expects urgent and swift interventions by the international bodies on human and workers’ rights, including the ILO Committee on Freedom of Association and others, for the immediate and unconditional release of all arrested workers and their safe return to work.
For more information, please contact [email protected] - International Alliance in Support of Workers in Iran.