Today activists of the Shahrokh Zamani Action Campaign were joined by members of the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain and Alliance for Workers’ Liberty outside Transport House, the Headquarters of the Trades Union Congress.
We were holding a friendly lobby of the TUC to bring to its attention the many strikes and workers’ struggles in Iran and demanding its support and class solidarity.
The following is the text of the leaflet that was distributed to TUC workers and passers-by.
Solidarity with Haft Tappeh and other workers’ struggles in Iran
Recently the Iranian regime took the US government to the International Court of Justice because of the re-imposition of sanctions and their dire effect on the economy. Yet for nearly forty years this regime has been doing much worse to Iranian workers: impoverishing their families; smashing their attempts to set up independent trade unions and labour organisations; depriving them of basic rights like going on strike; exposing them to appalling levels of danger at work (15,997 deaths in just 10 years!) and so on. Obviously no international court exists for bringing charges against Iran’s capitalists and their regime. All that Iran’s workers can rely on is their own united struggle and the class solidarity of workers in other countries.
Stalling economy and repression
Inflation, unemployment, unpaid wages, corruption and mismanagement all predate the latest deterioration in the economic situation which has even forced bazaar merchants and lorry owners to protest! As for workers, in the past few months their purchasing power has dropped by 52%. On average they now have to spend 70% of their wages on food!
The regime’s response to the deepening crisis has been to step up the already high level of repression against workers, women, national minorities and anyone else who is seen as disloyal to the system. Iran’s jails are full of labour activists, women’s activists, national and religious minorities, teachers and so on. On September 8th the regime executed three Kurdish activists. A totally flawed ‘legal process’ was used to find Ramin Hossein Panahi, Loghman Moradi and Zaniar Moradi guilty of “membership of a terrorist group, [involvement in] armed action and participation in terrorist acts”.
Wave of strikes and protests
Repression, however, has its limits – as the Shah found out in 1978-79. In the past few months there have been dozens of strikes in the steel industry, railways, petrochemicals and so on. On September 11th, even the pensioners had a country-wide protest that included Tehran, Mashhad, Yazd, Kermanshah and Borujerd.
The most important strike has been at the Haft Tappeh Sugar Cane complex in south-west Iran. Starting on August 18th, most of its 2900 workers went on strike. After three weeks – and many promises by the employer and the regional authorities – the strike was suspended. In addition to many ‘bread-and-butter’ issues, this radical strike posed many more fundamental problems affecting Iranian society and capitalism in general. Esmail Bakhshi, one of their reps, has called for the formation of “independent workers’ councils … to oversee the government’s performance and government institutions.”
We are therefore holding a friendly lobby of Congress House to bring to the TUC’s attention the many strikes and workers’ struggles in Iran and demanding its support. We are calling on the Trades Union Congress, its affiliated unions and the British labour movement to show class solidarity with their Iranian sisters and brothers by any means at their disposal. International solidarity can definitely contribute to Iran’s workers winning strikes and struggles. Help us support the Haft Tappeh Sugar Cane workers’ strike and other struggles that will ultimately lead to a general strike in Iran.
Long live international workers’ solidarity!
Shahrokh Zamani Action Campaign
13 September 2018