The 100th session of the International Labour Conference is being held from 1 to 17 June in Geneva. Delegates of Governments, workers and employers from the various Member States of the ILO meet every year in order to « promote access by men and women to decent and productive work in conditions of liberty, fairness, security and human dignity.»
This year, as in previous years, Iranian workers, deprived of free and independent trade unions, are unable to send their own representatives to this meeting to give their point of view on the situation of working people in Iran. This year, as in previous years, the Iranian Government will send to this meeting pseudo-representatives on its payroll. It will continue to put forward untruths on the situation of workers in Iran. It will offer lying promises on the improvement of social and trade union rights of workers in Iran. Subsequently it will continue to violate these same rights and to defy the resolutions of the International Labour Organisation of which it is a member.
The lives of Iranian workers and employees are difficult today for various reasons including a serious economic crisis. The economy of the country is in recession, with galloping inflation and unemployment. Economic growth has fallen to 1%. Production units are in severe difficulties. Many companies have gone bankrupt or are on the point of doing so. Production is decreasing and those who hold money and power are rushing into the import-export business which is more profitable. The construction sector is in crisis. The implementation of the law on the targeted abolition of state subsidies has led to a major increase in prices and to a significant deterioration in the living conditions of workers and employees in Iran. With the exacerbation of the crisis, capitalists and managers of private and of public (state) enterprises are throwing groups of their workers into the street without any social protection and without any prospects for the future.
Iranian workers and employees cannot freely exercise their fundamental right to the establishment of free and independent trade unions. As a result, they cannot defend themselves collectively through workers’ organisations or prevent the régime and the capitalists from shifting the full weight of the crisis onto their backs. Iranian workers have no platform or trade union from which to express their demands. They do not have a decent unemployment allowance which would allow them to withstand the destructive and dramatic consequences of the economic crisis or suffer less from the damage it inflicts.
Iranian workers are fighting despotism and exploitation by various means and under various forms. The repressive forces of the régime are savagely putting down workers’ movements and imprisoning worker activists and those who participate in strikes and workers’ demonstrations.
In their fight for their rights, Iranian workers need the support of workers around the world. International solidarity can strengthen the cause of Iranian workers.
On the initiative of Iranian opposition associations in France, of the CGT and of the trade union Solidaires, a «group for the support of workers of the Maghreb and of the Middle-East » has been set up to support the struggle of workers in these regions. A call has been launched by various French trade unions and associations for a gathering in front of the seat of the ILO in Geneva. This appeal reads in particular :
« In solidarity with imprisoned Iranian trade unionists, the French trade unions call for a gathering on 9 June 2011 in front of the seat of the ILO in Geneva.
The repressive measures taken against Iranian trade union activists on 1 May last and the arrest of trade union activists in Kurdistan constitute violations of fundamental human rights.
We, French trade unionists, together with the international trade union movement, express our solidarity with Iranian men and women who, in spite of the risks involved in trade union activity in Iran, have committed themselves to the fight for workers’ rights.
Our thoughts are with all those activists imprisoned for months or years, guilty only of having exercised the fundamental right of engaging in trade union activity. Their struggle deserves admiration and respect, for them and for their families who are supporting them. »
We the undersigned, three left-wing Iranian organisations, who stand for the rights of Iranian workers and labourers, fully support this gathering and the efforts of defenders of the Iranian workers’ movement in France. We call on all those forces who value freedom to support this appeal. There is no doubt that without international help and solidarity the repression in Iran would be even worse than it is. Workers and labourers, left-wing parties and Iranian associations will never forget this solidarity with their cause.
Long live the international solidarity of workers and labourers!
The Union Of People’s Fedaian Of Iran
The Organisation of Iranian People’s Fadaïan (Majority)
Provisional Council of the Socialist Left of Iran