During the recent years, at work and in their lives, our country’s workers and toilers have faced countless difficulties. Disappearance of millions of workers’ job security, prevalence of the temporary contracts, the phenomenon of unpaid back wages, and closing of the factories and recession in the production plants, are among the difficulties causing the major part the workers’ discontent and protests.
From the start of the Rouhani administration up to now, in spite of the pre-election promises, especially on the subject of “wages”, no concrete action for improvement of the workers’ and toilers’ condition, and also observance of their labor-union rights, has taken place. As an example, one can point to the Grand Labor Council’s bill regarding the amount of current year’s (2014) minimum wage. Twenty-five percent increases in the amount of minimum wage, corresponds to imposing of poverty on the workers and destruction of their job security.
During the recent months and in preparation for the Grand Labor Council meetings for determination of the 2014 minimum wage, extensive discussions around the need for exerting pressure, and attempt to force the Ministry of Labor and other official Islamic Republic institutions to respect and ensure workers’ labor-union rights, especially the right to organize genuine trade-union organizations and the right to strike, have taken place. The most important point in these discussions is the agreement among the existing labor-union activists for strengthening the struggle for restoration of the labor-union rights; this is an indication of the growth and political-trade maturity of the labor-union and labor activists in this particular period. In spite of the differences in opinions, viewpoints, and differences in tastes in the labor-union movement, which is natural, the unanimity in intensification of the struggle by using all available means and opportunities undoubtedly is a very positive and gratifying achievement.
The struggle experience in the recent years, especially the protest movement in the last two years, has shown that without the independent labor-union organizations, organized on correct class basis, the country’s workers and toilers are not and will not be able to achieve their demands and protect their interests. During the time that the Grand Labor Council meetings were taking place, and the so called “labor representatives”, which all of them are members of the Islamic Labor Councils and the Grand Center for Islamic Labor Councils, along with the government and management representatives were making a decision on the amount of the minimum wage, the Ministry of labor conducted several maneuvers. During the final weeks of the last year, it was announced that regarding the 2014 wages, while coordinating with different labor organizations, the Islamic Labor Councils’ representatives are trying to present a unified position in defense of the labor’s wages at the Grand Labor Council. As an example, on 3rd of Esfand, Mehr News Agency reported: “In preparation for determination of the workers’ minimum wage for 2014 in the Grand Labor Council, the possibility of forming a special workers’ committee for exchange of information and ideas is becoming stronger. While learning about different labor organizations’ ideas, through the committee, the workers intend to prepare a joint and clear scenario for presentation and defense at the barging processes during the following weeks.” Meeting of the coordinators of the workers’ protest petition with the Labor Minster’s deputies prior to the announcement of the 2014 minimum wage is another one of the topics that must be paid especial watchful attention. Concurrently, the Secretary General of the Grand Assembly of the Iranian Workers Representatives, the individual that for years from the security organizations officially represented the Islamic Republic in the international circles, indicated that regarding the minimum wage we will proceed in line with the “discussion of the decent-work and just wages.” Therefore, one can see and identify different aspects of the less obvious certain policies in opposition with the struggle for restoration of the labor-union rights. The question is: What has suddenly happened that during the Grand Labor Council meetings, the “especial workers’ committee for exchange of information between different workers’ groups and organizations” plan is widely being suggested and advertised? One must seek the answer in the existing concrete realities, especially in the conscious and non-stop action of the workers’ labor-union movement in a direction for more effective presence in the events and strengthening of the independent labor-unions role; also, their unity in intensification of the struggle for restoration of the labor-union rights. Connected with this, one can point to the labor organizations’ legal action regarding the 2013 minimum wage, which was a proper action in defense of the workers’ rights. Also, the workers’ protest actions for increase of the wages prior to ending of the Grand Labor Council meetings can be considered as examples of the working class consciousness at this stage. Regarding this, one can point to signing of the petition by eight-hundred
Tabriz petrochemical workers, and Mahshar
petrochemical workers as well.
Now, workers’ multilateral struggle for restoration of their labor-union rights has entered a new stage. After years of repression, prosecution and false and demagogic representation, millions of Iranian workers have realized that no other organization can be a substitute for a labor-union organization. Existence of labor-union organization in production plants and service institutions is a vital necessity; also, nation-wide, in different production-service industries scale, to obtain and protect their interests, workers need labor-unions. Labor-union organization, is workers’ only certain and logical means for defending workers’ and toilers’ rights.
On the basis of their character and nature, and because of their trade-union responsibilities, for restoration of workers’ labor-union rights, the independent unions, while safeguarding their independence in action and class-identity in all levels, can intensify their struggle using all available opportunities, and strengthen workers’ labor-union movement from this position.
The basic principle in this struggle is the class independent action and unity in action among all ranks of the existing labor-union movement!
United Workers Everything
Isolated Workers Nothing