Saturday, April 30, 2011

Iran: Joint Statement in Observance of International Workers' Day

Translation of a joint statement issued by a group of workers' rights groups in Iran. Read the original, in Persian here.

[Poster to the right, about workers' action planned in Wisconsin in support of international solidarity, and immigrant and workers rights.]

Joint Statement in Observance of International Workers' Day - 1 May 2011

May 1st, International Workers' Day, is the global day of unity and protest by workers against the tyranny and inequality of capitalist system. This day is a reminder of the global struggles by workers for achieving their human rights. Iranian workers celebrate this day alongside workers of the world, and, in protest against their inhumane living conditions, they get together on this day every year and by any means at hand they raise their voices in order to achieve their legitimate rights.

The excitement and the militancy of the workers around the world on May 1st, and the freedom of millions of workers to protest against their living conditions in most places around the globe shake our world at the same time that Iranian workers -- in addition to lacking any social rights such as forming any organizations or holding street demonstrations -- are daily and hourly under the severest attacks against their lives and their livelihoods. Any form of workers' protests or any demands for their rights get answered by detention and imprisonment of workers. The so-called 'rationalization of subsidies' [elimination of all subsidies for basic goods being carried out by Ahmadinejad government], started by the ruling capitalism [in Iran] and supported by international capitalist institutions, is ever more destroying the lives and livelihoods of millions of workers' families, yet nobody has any right to freely protest against this situation. With the dizzying increase in the prices of energy [gas and electricity] and the ever-increasing shutdown of factories, hundreds and thousands of workers are forced to join the millions of unemployed. Meanwhile, they [the rulers] change the terms and conditions for unemployment benefits to the detriment of workers; they obtain franchises in hospitals and clinics that attend to workers, and set different criteria for retirement benefits; they tie up construction workers' insurances with labyrinthine bureaucratic rules; and at the same time that they raise the prices of basic goods by astronomical amounts [for some items, five-eight fold], they raise the minimum wage for workers by an insulting [miniscule] 9.0%.

In our view, for millions of desperate and destitute workers' families trying to make a minimum of living in these conditions, all the mentioned factors have no meaning other than increased destitute in trying to make ends meet, and impose on the workers a daily intensification of poverty and misery. However, we the workers will not [merely] stay as observers of the slow death of our families and will not accept the daily assault on our lives and livelihoods, and we will stand against poverty, misery and the total lack of social rights in a unified and collective fashion. In this context, we the Iranian workers announce our utter abhorrence for the current conditions, and call on all the people in the country to collectively raise their general [nationwide] demands, and in the existing conditions we are asking for the immediate implementation of these demands:

1. Unconditional right of forming independent workers' organizations, of strike, protesting and marching, freedom of political parties, of assembly and freedom of expression and media -- these are our legitimate and obvious rights. At the same time that all state-created institutions must be abolished from work and living environments of the people, these rights must be recognized as unconditional and undeniable social rights of workers and all the people in Iran.

2. We will not accept or go along with a society in which a small minority owns huge wealth while the [overwhelming] majority does not even have bread on the table. In our view, a [mere] 9% increase in minimum wages, especially given the elimination of subsidies and the tremendously sharp rise of prices of goods, is an insult to the human dignity and the right to life of workers. We consider this as an imposition of abject poverty and misery on millions of workers' families on an even larger scale than before, and by rejecting the current method of determining wages we resolutely demand a halt to the elimination of subsidies; as well, we demand that wages be determined by workers' authentic representatives and be based on the highest standards of human living conditions today.

3. We demand the elimination of temporary contracts with "white signature" [not signed], eradication of sub-contracting companies, and the adoption of direct and collective contracts, provision of job security for workers, and adoption of the highest standards of health and safety in work and living places.

4. All wages that are in arrears must be paid immediately and unconditionally and without any excuses or objections, and any non-payment must be treated as a crime punishable by law, and all damages due to non-payment must also be paid to the workers.

5. Firing workers and rendering them unemployed, under any pretext, must be stopped; additionally, all unemployed workers or all who have reached employment age, must be given unemployment insurance commensurate with a humane standard of living, for as long as they can work.

6. The Social Welfare Organization has become one of the institutions with astronomical wealth in Iran as a result of the sweat and money from the workers. Despite this fact, this institution has become a part of the profit production-circulation, and only thinks of reducing health benefits [of the workers] and obtaining franchise [rights] from the sick workers. We consider social benefit insurance as an inalienable right of all the members of society, and demand that the management of this institution be put in the hands of elected representatives of the workers across the country.

7. While condemning any form of assault [by the state] on workers or people's protests, we are asking for the abolition of death penalty and the immediate and unconditional freedom of all imprisoned workers, as well as all the [activists] of all other social movements, from prisons and an immediate halt to all the judicial/legal [harassment] conducted against them, and the lifting of the security-state atmosphere ruling the country.

8. We demand the abolition of all discriminatory laws against women and the guarantee of complete and unconditional equality of women's rights with that of men's in all social, economic, political, cultural and family spheres of life.

9. We demand that all retired people be provided with a good life without economic worries, and we are asking for the elimination of any discrimination with regards to the payment of retirement benefits, and for social and healthcare benefits.

10. Child labor must be abolished. The right of children and their parents to complete and well established social welfare, the right to education and healthcare and social welfare that is free and standardized, regardless of economic or family conditions, and regardless of gender and/or national-ethnic or religious background must be officially recognized.

11. We consider it an inalienable right of all the people everywhere in the world to want to change their societies, and we are in absolute support of the people's protests and struggles in all the Middle Eastern countries, and we condemn any crackdown or oppression of the people's protests, as well as any deal-making between states [east or west] in order to re-direct or divert the changes taking place from above people's heads, and strongly condemn their usurpations and interventions in determining people's fates in Middle East countries.

12. We are a part of the world's workers, and we condemn firings and all forms of discrimination against migrant Afghan workers in Iran or any other national-ethnic workers.

13. While voicing our gratitude for all the international working class and other support for the struggles of the Iranian workers, and in unconditional support of the protests and demands of workers' demands all over the world, we consider ourselves their allies, and we emphasize now more than ever on international workers' solidarity for liberation from the miseries of the capitalist system.

14. May 1st must be declared an official holiday [in Iran] and be entered into the official calendar of the nation, and all forms of limitations or prohibitions against it must be abolished.

Long Live May 1st!
Long Live Workers' International Solidarity!

May 1st, 2011 / 11 Ordibehesht 1390

Signed by:
Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company
Free Union of Iranian Workers
Committee for reopening Painters and Interior Design Workers' Syndicate
Committee for reopening Mechanical Metals Workers Syndicate
Society in Defense of Workers' Rights
Committee for Pursuit of Forming Workers' Organizations
Coordinating Committee to Help Form Workers' Organizations

1 comment:

yassamine said...

Dear translator
Weekly Worker ( would like to print your translations of
Mohamad Reza Shalgouni's articles and we have the author's permission and I can ask him to get in touch with you as well.Do you allow us to use your translation? if the answer is yes please let us know who should we credit for it ? RF ? revolutionary flowerpot ? or any other name ?
many thanks