Thursday, April 29, 2010

The following statement of workers' organizations in Iran is a translation published at the Facebook group 'Support Workers' Councils in Iran'. Workers' councils are one method of both workers' struggle against the state and other bosses in 'revolutionary times' and also one method whereby people have tried to organize production outside of the system of management direction. In Iran today some of the most repressed segments of society are those workers who are struggling for their rights in the face of the clerical regime's unwavering support for the employer class. Should the clerical fascist regime ever be overthrown you can be assured that an independent workers' movement will play an utterly critical role in its downfall. Until that day Iranian workers continue to hold the line against both boss and state. Here is their statement on the international labour day- May Day.
Joint May Day, International Workers Day, Resolution (Workers Organizations in Iran)
May 1st is the international day of working-class solidarity and the day of global protest against poverty, destitution, and injustice. On this day, millions of workers the world over stop work, take over the streets, and express their anger and disgust at the numerous ...problems the capitalist system has visited on humanity, and loudly call for freedom from oppression, exploitation, and for building a better day. While voices of protest against the hardships inflicted by the capitalist system and calls for justice for workers the world over are heard on May 1st, there is a ban on celebrations of the occasion in Iran.
At this moment, the workers who organized last year’s May Day events have been sentenced to prison or are on the brink of receiving heavy sentences and dozens of labor leaders and activists are in jail for setting up labor organizations and defending their right to do so. This lack of social rights for workers has been the order of the day in Iran for the three decades since the February 1979 revolution, which reduced wages to a quarter below the poverty line. Routine are long delays in the payment of wages, layoffs and unemployment for masses of workers. Temporary and blank contracts, ubiquitous today, have forced a hellish situation on millions of workers and their families. To ensure higher profits, capital is hell-bent on taking the last loaves from the tables of millions of workers and redirecting them to the valets of owners, by closing down plants and cutting public subsidies.
But as we, the workers of Iran showed in the 1979 revolution and in more recent years, we will not tolerate this misery and injustice. Despite prisons and repression, the people of Iran will resist this trampling on our most basic human rights and will not allow our lives and subsistence to be destroyed any further. We are the principle producers of the wealth and riches in the society. It is our inalienable right to reap the rewards of our labors. While protesting these conditions, which have put Iranian workers and the majority of the Iranian people under enormous duress, we stress the following rights and call for the immediate and unconditional implementation of all of them:
1. Organizations independent of the government and employers, strikes, protests, demonstrations, assembly, and free speech are our inalienable rights; these demands should be recognized as unconditional social rights of workers and all Iranian people.
2. We see the cutting of subsidies (management of aid) and the minimum wage as a gradual death sentence on millions of workers and their families. We call for an immediate halt to these plans and demand an increase of the minimum wage.
3. All back wages owed to workers should be paid immediately, without any excuses; the non-payment of wages should be considered a criminal act – wage theft – and the damages incurred paid to the workers.
4. Expulsions and layoffs of workers should be stopped and all those laid off or of retirement age who can work should receive unemployment benefits in accordance with a dignified, humane living.
5. We demand the eradication of temporary and blank contracts, job security for all workers and wage earners, the highest standards of health care and safety on the job and the eradication of all governmental bodies from the workplace.
6. We call for an end to capital punishment and the immediate and unconditional release of Ibrahim Maddadi, Mansour Osaloo, Ali Nejati, and all labor and other social and protest movement activists from prison, and a halt to judicial prosecution against them.
7. While condemning any attacks on workers and people’s protests, we see protests against injustice and declaring one’s opinion as inalienable rights of workers and all people.
8. We demand the repeal of all discriminatory laws against women and full and unconditional equality of women and men in all aspects of social, economic, political, cultural, and family spheres.
9. We demand a dignified life of well-being devoid of economic worries for retirees and the eradication of all discrimination in payment of pensions and entitlement to social security and health care.
10. Child labor should be eradicated, and all children, regardless of the economic and social standing of their parents, gender, national, racial, and religious backgrounds, should enjoy equal and free education, welfare, and health care benefits.
11. We declare our support for all social liberation movements and strongly condemn the arrest, sentencing, and incarceration of these movements’ activists.
12. While declaring our strong support for the demands of the teachers, nurses, and other working strata of the society, we see ourselves as their allies and call for the immediate realization of their demands.
13. We are part of the world labor movement and as such condemn the expulsions and any kind of discrimination against Afghan and other nationalities of immigrant workers, for any reason. 14. While appreciating all the international support for the struggle of the workers of Iran and strong support for the protests and demands of workers all over the world, we see ourselves as their allies and now more than ever emphasize the international solidarity of workers to overcome the perils of the capitalist system.
15. May 1st should be a national holiday and included in the official calendar and all illegalities and limitations on its celebration should be eliminated.
Long live May 1st,
Long live the international solidarity of workers!
May 1, 2010, Ordibehesht 11, 1389 Tehran and Municipality Vahed Bus Workers Syndicate Haft Tapeh Sugar Refinery Workers Syndicate Free Assembly of Iranian Workers Re-inauguration board of Metal and Mechanical Syndicate Re-inauguration board of Painting Workers Syndicate Kermanshah Electrical and Metal Workers Trade Society Pursuing Committee for the Formation of Free Workers Organizations Coordination Committee for support of the Formation of Workers Organizations Support Society for Laid off and Unemployed Workers in Saghez Women’s Council
Source: Iran Labor Report

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