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An International Workers' Union Organizing Protests Against Iran

Haft Tapeh sugar factory workers strike on 9th December 2017.

International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) has asked its members around the world to protest against the “harassment” of labor activists and “systematic violation” of workers’ rights in Iran.

Surces have told Radio Farda that ITUC, which consists of 331 unions in 163 countries with around 202 million members, has asked its rank and file to organize gatherings or send protest letters in this regard to embassies of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

A member of ITUC told Radio Farda that several Iranian activists and workers that have participated in guild related protests have been accused of acting against national security and convicted to long-term imprisonment or lashes. As a result, ITUC has decided to go beyond its past statements of condemnation and organize protests actions.

In recent years, Iran has been witnessing a wave of protests by workers and teachers due to low or delayed salaries, closure of workplaces due to suspicious bankruptcies, and layoffs.

Labor activists say that many of these problems are the result of mismanagement and corruption. In one case a court sentenced 17 former workers of a gold mine in West Azerbaijan Province, north-west of Iran to lashes due to participation in protests against their layoff.

According to Radio Farda sources, ITUC has asked its members to ask the Iranian government to dismiss the charges against the workers and workers’ activists and release all imprisoned workers.

ITUC is also concerned about thousands of workers at the Haft Tapeh sugar cane plantation in south-western province of Khuzestan, who have been protesting a long delay in their wages and demand the recognition of Haft Tapeh Workers’ Union as the official representative of the workers of this factory, the return of workers who have been fired “unjustly”, and the return of the factory to government ownership.

Haft Tapeh's privatization under suspicious circumstances has raised questions and criticism.

In an effort to improve the economy, the Iranian government has been trying to transfer government-owned companies to private sector. However, due to widespread corruption, the privatization process is very ineffective and mostly results into the bankruptcy of the company.