Solidarity organisation calls for support for workers protests

19th December 2018

Press release

For immediate use

The Committee for the Defence of the Iranian People’s Rights (CODIR) has called upon trade unions in the UK and globally to support the nearly six-week-long strike of steelworkers in Iran, protesting against the failure of their employers to pay them for months at a time.

Workers at the Iran National Steel Industry Group (INSIG) factory in Ahvaz have been in dispute for over a year now with their private sector owners who have failed to fulfil their obligations to run the plant in Ahvaz at full capacity.  Workers have been demanding the plant’s return to the public sector and strategic investment in order to ensure that it is profitable and sustainable.

The response of the Iranian authorities to the escalating industrial action and protests has been typically brutal.  In the early hours of Monday 17th December, the security forces raided the homes of many of the strikers and arrested 31 of their leading representatives.  A further ten strikers were detained in the hours that followed.

Consequently, the strikers have refused to meet with the governor of Khuzestan province and have announced that until all of the arrested workers are released, they will not enter into any negotiation.

The demands of the workers at INSIG Ahvaz and at the Haft Tappeh Sugarcane Complex, to reverse the tide of privatisation and implement the workforce demand for labour control of production, is backed by a large number of trade unions, workers organisations and social and political organisations, and is garnering ever increasing support in wider Iranian society.

Assistant General Secretary of CODIR, Jamshid Ahmadi, has condemned the arrests and warned that such actions should bring about the condemnation of UK trade unionists in the strongest terms.

“Ever since the wave of protests engulfed Iran earlier this year, the regime has been running scared of any opposition.  They know how much anger there is beneath the surface of society in Iran.  Workers merely attempting to organise to demand their due wages and salaries and improve their terms and conditions – a basic human right in any democracy – are seen as a challenge to the regime,” said Mr Ahmadi.  “Workers in the UK should show solidarity with their colleagues in Iran and voice their opposition to such tactics loudly and clearly with the Iranian regime.”

CODIR is calling for trade unions in the UK and globally to demand

–       the release of all arrested workers and trade unionists;

–       the payment of all delayed and unpaid wages;

–       the removal of anti-riot police from the factory and surrounding area and the immediate ceasing of all measures designed to coerce the workforce;

–       the Iranian government to start meaningful negotiations with a view to return the factory to the public sector based on constitutional provisions covering the failure of privatised factories;

–       the Iranian government to recognise, implement and respect trade union rights based on ILO core conventions including ILO conventions 87 and 98;

–       that letters of protest be sent to the Iranian authorities and Iranian diplomatic missions.

CODIR furthermore urges trade unions in the UK and internationally to express their solidarity with the workers of INSIG Ahvaz and the Haft Tappeh Sugarcane Complex in the campaign for the realisation of their just and legitimate demands.


Further information for Editors

Contact Information for CODIR:-

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Further information on CODIR

CODIR is the Committee for the Defence of the Iranian People’s Rights.  It has been established since 1981 and has consistently campaigned to expose human rights abuses in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

CODIR has worked closely with the trade union movement in the UK, EU and English speaking countries, the peace movement, all major political parties and Amnesty International to press the case for an end to torture in Iran’s prisons.

Amongst CODIR’s trade union affiliates in the UK are UNISON, Unite the union, NEU, NASUWT, UCU, FBU and RMT and 100’s of local and regional trade union organisations

CODIR has published Iran Today, its quarterly journal, since 1981, explaining the latest developments in Iran and the most effective way that the British public opinion could demonstrate its solidarity with the people of Iran.

In recent years CODIR has worked closely with Stop the War Coalition and has been vocal against any form of foreign intervention in the internal affairs of the nation.


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