The situation of Iran’s workers: “Widely unobserved” in Germany

2010/03/05

Posted on the website of German daily socialist newspaper “Neues Deutschland” on March 5, 2010
Source (German): http://www.neues-deutschland.de/artikel/166372.weitgehend-unbeachtet.html
English translation kindly provided by Josh Manning

By Peter Nowak

German trade unions under the confederation DGB such as IG Metall, ver.di, and GEW have made a combined effort to push for the release of the Iranian trade union activist Mansour Osanloo. As chairman of the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company, he was detained and held in custody for five years in 2007 for practicing his right of freedom of association. While in detention, he was exposed to various forms of torture. Additional activists of the Independent Sugar Workers Trade Union were imprisoned in Dezful for endangering national security.

The national attacks strengthened after different Iranian opposition trade unions representing bus drivers, sugar workers as well as electrical and metal workers started speaking a unified voice to the public. Apart from demanding democratic reforms such as the right to go on strike, they demanded an increase to the minimum wage, the payment of pending wages, and a cease to the curtailing of subsidies planned by the Iranian government.

The foundations of a new Iranian worker’s movement are being specially marked for government repression so it requires an international unionized effort to support it. Therefore the call from South German Unions is a welcoming voice. Here the focus will be put on the extremely hostile course set by the Islamic Republic of Iran against its workers. This solidarity of worker’s unions gives a positive lift to the Iranian opposition movement. Instead of calling for an exchange of elites in Iran, the trade unions are demanding social rights.

Their documented activities on their homepage, http://justiceforiranianworkers.org/, remains to a large extent unobserved by the German left despite the months of violently led debate about Iran.

Perhaps the call for action (that can be signed on http://emanzipationundfrieden.de/Ossanloo-Usammlung.pdf) helps to draw more attention to the activities of the independent worker’s unions in Iran.

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