Iran: It’s time to recognise independent trade unions

Iran does not allow independent unions to operate, and trade union activists are frequently detained when they defend workers’ rights. LabourStart has run many campaigns in defence of imprisoned trade unionists in Iran.
Despite this, workers continue to organise strikes and protests against bad employers, and sometimes they win. Over the past few years, tens of thousands of contract workers on Iran’s oil and gas projects have taken part in waves of wildcat strike action, coordinated by strike committees. Workers protest against dangerous work in extreme heat, low wages, poor living conditions, unreasonable shift cycles, and labour brokers who incorrectly declare social security contributions, and pocket the difference. These workers have begun to win, and the government is taking notice: last month, for the first time, the Department of Labour met with a workers’ representative, from IndustriALL’s Iranian affiliate UMMI, to hear the workers’ demands. Now is the time to formalise this arrangement by recognising independent unions as legitimate workers’ representatives, and building an industrial relations system in line with global standards and ILO Conventions. Call on the government of Iran to recognise independent unions!

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