Global Trade Union leader calls for respect for workers’ rights in Iran

Anders Ferbe, the leader of Sweden’s Metalworkers and Industrial Union, while visiting Tehran as a member of an official high-level Swedish government delegation, issued an important statement supporting trade union rights in Iran on Saturday 11 February 2017.

His initiative – well thought out and massively effective – provided a much needed boost to the campaign of Iranian trade unionists for Iran’s government to respect and enact ILO Conventions 87 and 98 – covering trade union rights, recognition of the legal right of workers to join trade unions of their choice and the right of trade unions to operate freely in workplaces.   Below we publish Mr Ferbe’s statement in full.

Date                                                           February 11,2017

Support for independent democratic trade unions in Iran and recognition of internationally recognized labour rights

In my capacity as President of the Swedish union Industrial and Metal Workers’ Union (IF Metall), I am about to visit Iran in the next few days together with an official Swedish delegation led by the Swedish Prime Minister, Stefan Lofven. The delegation will also include representatives from the Swedish business community.

IF Metall is a Swedish national trade union representing 320,000 blue-collar workers in the metal, mining, chemical, textile and garment sectors.

The main purpose of the visit to Iran is to examine the opportunities for increased contacts and trade between our countries. Trade between countries is an important force and essential for economic growth and thereby an important tool to strengthen social security and improved living conditions. Successful companies will also create a basis for improved conditions for the workers.

My purpose is also to contribute with knowledge and information about the importance of a well-functioning labour market where trade unions and employers, as social partners on the labour market, work together in the common interest for both workers and companies.

As Vice-President of the global union for industrial workers, IndustriAll! Gl obal Union, it was with great pleasure that I welcomed UMMl (Union of Metalworkers and Mechanics of Iran) as a member of lndustriAll Global Union in October 2016.

I would like to express my strong support of the important work that UMMI and other independent democratic trade unions carry out in Iran. This they do in order to safeguard the interests of workers and to contribute to the development of Iranian society and the business community.

In this respect the Iranian Government has a key role to play when it comes to the creation of conditions for such a development. This by the ratification and implementation of the ILO core conventions, recognition of democratic and independent trade unions and to release imprisoned union leaders detained because of their legitimate trade union activities.


In addition to the above it is important that the Iranian Government implement labour legislation that supports cooperation between the social partners on the labour market as well as in individual companies.

In my capacity as Chairman of IF Metall and Vice-President of Industriall Global Union I would like to express my support to UMMI and to all independent democratic trade unions in Iran. Your struggle in the interests of workers, to promote decent working conditions on the Iranian labour market and your pursuit to achieve well-functioning industrial relations on said labour market is invaluable.

In solidarity,

Anders Ferbe

President of IF Metall and Vice-President of lndustriall Global Union

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