Let’s raise the banner of our human demands!
48 days have passed since the attack on the May Day demonstration at Laleh Park [in Tehran] and the arrest of the workers. Important developments, with great and dramatic consequences for the social movement, have taken place since then. In TV debates, the presidential candidates blamed each other for violating rights, embezzlement, theft, and mismanagement. However, none of them opposed the laws that have imposed such catastrophes on the people; none of them protested against a law that has deprived workers of their right to strike, that has legitimised a minimum wage four times below the poverty line; laws that have denied workers the right organize. None of the candidates protested against laws that have legitimised mass layoffs; laws that impose blank, one-month contracts on workers. None of the candidates spoke about freedom of expression, freedom of dress, and several hundred other inhumane practices that currently rule the society. Even if in some cases the candidates superficially brought up some issues, they used them as a means to try the other and to acquit oneself as if the opponent had been more severe in practicing these laws. In all these debates the candidates proved that they are loyal to all the existing laws and the existing situation; that they are only fighting over power.
Thus, under these conditions, where a massive movement of the people has entered the scene to raise its demands, we workers regard it as our right to raise the banner of our class demands as follows:
1- Immediate increase in the Minimum Wage to a level higher than 1 million Toman per month
2- Abolition of temporary contracts and new forms of work contracts
3- Dissolution of Islamic Labour Councils and Workers’ House as government organisations in factories and workplaces; establishing workers’ councils and other workers’ organisations independent of the state
4- Immediate and unconditional payment of unpaid and overdue wages
5- An end to layoffs and payment of sufficient unemployment benefit to all unemployed workers
6- Immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners, including imprisoned workers who were detained in May Day: Jafar Azimzadeh, Gholamreza Khani, Saaed Youzi*, Saeed Rostami, Mehdi Farahi-Shandiz, Kaveh Mozzafari, Mansour Osanlou and Ebrahim Madadi; an end to persecution and harassment of workers and worker leaders
Freedom of strike, protest, assembly, expression and speech are our undeniable rights
An end to gender discrimination, to child labour and to laying off of immigrant workers.
Today we have the duty to express our demands independently and, relying on our united power, to set to work to win our human rights together with other sections of the society.
Free Union of Iranian Workers
June 18, 2009
* Editor’s note: Jafar Azimzadeh, President of the Free Union of Iranian Workers, and Gholamreza Khani, member of the Union of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company, were released on bail on Monday, 22nd June; Saeed Youzi, another detained worker leader, was released on bail on Tuesday 23rd June.