The Global Union Federations are supporting the international day of action in support of Iranian unionists following the continuing repression against the Trade Union of the Greater Teheran United Bus Company (Sherkate-Vahed).
Sherkate-Vahed had called a strike at the end of January in protest at the detention of its leader, Mansour Osanloo, and in support of its negotiation of a collective agreement for the bus company. That action was harshly punished, with hundreds of trade unionists and their families being arrested, and some beaten. Others were pressured into continuing to work. In addition, 8 members of the union executive were imprisoned on the eve of the strike after a meeting with the company’s management. Although many of the arrested trade unionists have been released, it appears that over 80, including Mansour Osanloo and all the members of the executive, are still being held at Evin prison in Tehran. For those released, the repression has continued. Workers have not been able to return to their jobs and instead have to register at the Labour Ministry. The Iranian government, Teheran city council and the management of Sherkate–Vahed are doing all they can to ensure that news of the trade union’s actions is not passed on. Many trade union organisations from across the world have already protested strongly to the country’s authorities. Demonstrations including many trade union participants have been held outside the embassies of Iran in Canada and the United Kingdom. Today, hundreds of trade union organisations will be protesting at the Iranian embassies and, where appropriate, the Foreign ministries, in their countries. This international mobilisation is sure to highlight the non-respect of trade union rights within the bus company. But Iran itself has obligations as a member of the International Labour Organisation, particularly with respect to freedom of association and the right to engage in collective bargaining. What is more, the ILO Committee on Freedom of Association is currently examining a complaint against Iran. Education International, in its capacity as a member of the Global Unions, supports Sherkate-Vahed and the international day of action.