MUA joins international protests against worker repression in Iran

Published: 27 Jun 2009

MUA members and officials joined around 300 unionists, workers and members of the Australian Iranian community outside the Iranian Embassy in Canberra, protesting against the repression of workers' rights in Iran. Watch the video by MUA film maker and waterside worker COOPER SILK

Other unions represented included the the Rail Tram and Bus Union,  the Australian Workers’ Union, the Australian Services Union, the Australian Education Union, the CFMEU and UnionsACT, yesterday.  

The Iranian Ambassador refused to meet with union members to accept a letter to the Ambassador from the Australian Council of Trade Unions outlining condemning the torture and imprisonment of unionists in Iran.

The letter has been sent by fax to the Ambassador instead.

Paul Garrett, MUA read out the following ITF resolution at the rally:

The ITF Railway Workers’ Section Steering Committee Meeting held on 24 – 25 June 2009 in London
NOTES WITH GRAVE CONCERN the continued and systematic oppression of the independent workers’ movement in Iran. More than 100 people were arrested on May Day this year for holding a peaceful rally. Union leaders of the ITF-affiliated Tehran Bus Workers’ Union, Mansour Osanloo and Ebrahim Madadi, as well as an education worker, Farzad
Kamangar are imprisoned on trumped-up charges;
FURTHER NOTES that nearly two million workers have not been paid in Iran – some for nearly two years, according to the ITUC’s Annual Survey of Violation of Trade Union Rights (2008) – where official labor organisations that the Iranian government has set-up have failed to protect the conditions of the working people for many years;
CONDEMNS the heavy repression of peaceful demonstrations and lack of respect for human life and dignity in the wake of the election in Iran, and the disproportionate use of violence that has left tens of people dead and several hundred injured;
EXPRESSES ITS RESPECT to every man and woman in Iran who is standing up against poverty and the oppression against their freedom;
WELCOMES the initiatives taken by the ITF, together with the ITUC, EI and IUF, as well as Amnesty International in supporting workers’ rights in Iran, which has culminated in the ‘Justice for Iranian Workers’ Campaign’ with its Global Solidarity Action Day planned on 26 June 2009;
FULLY SUPPORTS the demands of the campaign set as follows:
·        Full democratic rights for all Iranians, including freedom of association and freedom of assembly
·        A halt to all violent repression

·        Release of all imprisoned trade unionists

·        Recognition of all independent workers’ organisations in Iran

·        Respect for core labour standards and ratification of all fundamental ILO Conventions in particular those relating to freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining

·        A halt to all anti-union repression

·        Reinstatement of dismissed workers.

Four global union organisations representing over 170 million workers called a worldwide action day on June 26 to demand justice for Iranian workers. Demonstrations took place outside Iranian embassies and consulates worldwide to protest the ongoing denial of rights and arrests of trade unionists within the country. 

The ITUC (International Trade Union Confederation), EI (Education International), ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation), IUF (International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers' Associations) are forming a coalition for the event, which is the latest move in an ongoing campaign to secure justice and trade union rights inside Iran. They are calling for the immediate and unconditional release of jailed trade unionist members and leaders including Mansour Osanloo, Ebrahim Madadi, Farzad Kamangar and the five leaders of the Haft Tapeh Sugarworkers’ Union, recently sentenced to a year in prison, as well as the release of trade unionists arrested in Tehran on May Day. Amnesty International has backed this campaign.

Guy Ryder, ITUC General Secretary explained: ‘Each of these organisations has campaigned to protect their colleagues in Iran, and now we are all joining forces to do it even more effectively.’

‘We have exhausted all avenues of reasonable dialogue to persuade the government of Iran to allow basic human and trade union rights. Their answer has been repression and arrests. Given this failure we must take to the streets to demonstrate that the world is watching what they are doing and what is happening to our colleagues within the country.’




Authorised by P Crumlin, Maritime Union of Australia, Sydney