ILO… No place for the violators of workers’ rights!

CODIR supports the protest against the presence of Islamist regime-affiliated delegation at the ILO Annual Conference 2023!

To all Labour/Trade Unions

Support the protest rally in front of the [Annual Conference of the] International Labour Organisation [ILO] in solidarity with workers in Iran

On the [occasion of the] 111th Annual Conference of the International Labour Organisation [ILO], Iranian labour activists and refugees have organised a rally in Place des Nations, Geneva, on 9 June 2023 to protest the presence of delegations from the Islamic Republic of Iran at this conference and to demand the release of imprisoned workers and teachers as well as a halt to the execution of protesters in Iran.

We call upon you to show your class solidarity by joining us on the day or sending messages of solidarity to support the workers of Iran who are fighting for [the protection of] their fundamental rights, including “freedom of association and the right to organise” and the “right to organise and collective bargaining”, which are enshrined in ILO Conventions 87 and 98.

The flagrant violation of the basic rights of Iranian workers, which has been partially documented in the annual reports of the ILO, has been going on for decades.  However, the ILO has not [deemed to] take the appropriate [consequent] action against the Islamist regime in Iran.

Independent labour organisations and leading labour organisers inside Iran have written to the ILO on a number of occasions in recent years detailing widespread violations of the basic rights of workers by the Islamic Republic of Iran and have petitioned the board of directors to note that the labour delegation of the Islamic Republic comprises of the leaders of government-affiliated labour organisations and does not represent Iran’s workers in any way.

Last year, the Coordinating Council of Iranian Teachers’ Trade Associations (CCITTA) sent a petition to the board of directors of the International Labour Organisation explicitly stating that the teachers and workers of Iran do not have a representative in the International Labour Organization and demanding the removal of the Iranian so-called workers delegation from the International Labour Organisation.

It is important to note that the CCITTA won the 2023 Special Peace Prize for Human Rights from South Korea’s May 18 Foundation for its campaigns to bring the voice of Iranian workers to the world stage, including for bringing this voice to the International Labour Organisation.

The violation of workers’ basic rights by the Islamic Republic is so extensive that it is impossible to address even the main categories here.  [Thus,] we [hereby] mention just a few examples:

At the time of writing, 15 teachers, including several well-known teachers who are members of the CCITTA – including Esmail Abdi, Rasul Bodaghi, Jafar Ebrahimi, Aziz Ghasemzadeh, and Farzaneh Nazeran-Pour – have been incarcerated merely for defending the rights of teachers; and, in recent months, hundreds of labour activists and teachers have been threatened by [Islamic Republic] security forces, summoned to court, and dismissed from their jobs on account of their [legitimate] trade union activities.

In another well publicised case, Reza Shahabi, the elected representative of the [Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company] and Hassan Saeedi, a member of the same syndicate, have been imprisoned in Evin Prison without trial for more than a year.  Their “crime” is that on the eve of International Labour Day last year, they met with two French union activists, Ms. Cecile Koehler and her partner, Jacques Paris, who had gone on a trip to Iran.  Cecile Koehler and Jacques Parry have remained in prison since then without trial.  Also Ms. Anishia Asad Elahi, an English-language teacher and labour activist, who was present in the meeting with two union activists, was tried in branch 26 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court in May this year and sentenced to 5 years and 8 months in prison.  These are just a few cases.

During the current revolutionary movement of “Woman, Life, Freedom”, which started at the end of September 2022, the Islamist regime in Iran has embarked upon a bloody repression of the street protests.  So far, they have so far killed more than 560 demonstrators, including nearly 70 children.  Meanwhile, the Islamist regime has increased the severity of repression of activists and independent labour organisations – which were [already] under constant pressures and repressions under normal conditions [i.e. pre September 2022].

The suppression of labour strikes and protests; the beating, arresting, summoning, and threatening of hundreds of workers before the start of strikes and protest gatherings; and the arresting of labour activists en-masse, are part of the Islamist regime’s violent behaviour against the workers.

In addition, in recent months, the Islamist regime has resorted to the mass execution of arrested protestors along with common criminals to prevent street demonstrations from flaring up again, and labour strikes and protests from spreading.

According to the [Iran] Human Rights Organisation, 138 people have been executed in Iran in the last two-and-a-half months alone.  The last instance was the execution of three political prisoners, namely Saeed Yaqoubi, Majid Kazemi, and Saleh Mirhashemi on 19 May 2023, in Isfahan.

In general, there are almost none of the ILO Conventions  that the Islamist regime in Iran has not systematically violated on a daily basis.  Nevertheless, despite the strong opposition of the independent labour organisations in Iran, the ILO has accepted the [Islamist] regime-affiliated labour delegation as the representative of Iranian workers.

It is shameful that the voices of workers, labour activists, and the independent labour organisations of Iran are absent in the ILO and at its Annual Conference – and that, in their place, the ILO has accepted a group affiliated with the regime who are party to the violation of the basic rights of Iranian workers.

The rally on Friday 9 June is an attempt to represent the voice of Iranian workers.  It is a call for the freedom of jailed workers and teachers and all political prisoners, as well as a protest against the widespread executions in Iran.

We ask you to demonstrate international class solidarity and show that Iranian workers are not alone

  • Support this demonstration by adding your name as sponsor of this rally.
  • Support the basic rights of Iranian workers, which is systematically suppressed by the regime of the Islamic, Republic of Iran.
  • Condemn the mass executions in Iran.
  • Demand that the regime of the Islamic Republic release all imprisoned workers and teachers unconditionally.

This protest has been backed by:

  • Confédération française démocratique du travail (CFDT), France
  • Confédération générale du travail (CGT), France
  • Fédération syndicale unitaire (FSU), France
  • Union syndicale Solidaires, France
  • Union nationale des syndicats autonomes (UNSA), France
  • Communauté genevoise d’action syndicale (CGAS), Switzerland
  • Syndicat des services publics (SSP) Genève, Switzerland
  • Italian General Confederation of Labour (CGIL), Italy
  • Swedish Trade Union Platform for Iran, Sweden
  • Public and Commercial Service (PCS) union, Britain

Organising Committee for 9 June 2023 protest

For further information and supporting the protest, please contact;,

Date: 27 May 2023

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