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۱۳۹۳ مهر ۸, سه‌شنبه

Labor-Union Movement and Analysis of the Labor’s Struggle – Responsibilities and Challenges

Extremely anti-labor policies of the Rouhani government in expansion of the “Free and Especial Economic Zones” for enslavement of the workers, deregulation of the wages for creation a cheaper work-force, deregulation of industries and work-relations, rampant privatization and devastation of workers’ job security, expansion of the temporary and blank contracts (the kind of contracts that the worker only signs the bottom of the contract, and managers complete its content later as they wish), has elevated exploitation of the workers to a tragic level. During the last year we have witnessed important, but detached labor protests in different parts of the country. While suppressing the labor protests and genuine leaders of those protests, Rouhani government’s Ministry of Labor and the security apparatus have tried extremely hard to control and “engineer- cultivate (direct the protest movement in government’s desired direction)” the labor protests. Ministry of Labor and Islamic Republic’s judiciary is well aware of the working class’ capacity for advancing a continued struggle and making genuine social-economical changes in our country. If needed, the government of “prudence and hope (as Rouhani government authorities refer to themselves)”, and Islamic Republic’s corrupt judiciary have shown that they will use all means to suppress labor protests. As an example, using the director’s trumped-up “disrupting the order, insult and threat“ charges, the director who had broken his promises to the workers, on September 15, 2014, branch 103 of Mahshar’s General Court (penal) convicted four Razy Petrochemical factory workers’ representatives, “workers who in early 2014 negotiations with the management, served as workers’ representatives”, to six months of jail and 50 lashes each. On September 15, 2014 ILNA wrote, “If we are supposed to accuse anyone of disrupting the production order in Razy Petrochemical factory, that person would be non other than the Petrochemical factory’s director.”       

Using submissive, so called labor leaders, even those who enjoyed Mortazavy’s bestowals from the Social Security Organization’s financial resources, Minister of Labor Ali Rabieih tried to decorate appearance of the government made labor organizations. However, all his attempts have produced no positive results. During the last month, some leaders of the yellow labor organizations have even admitted to the lack of independence of these organizations. As an example, on August 25, 2014, a Secretary of the Tehran province Center for Coordination of the Islamic Councils told the Iranian Labor News Agency (ILNA), “In general, as long as the labor trade organizations are not formed independently within the work-places, we can not expect positive results from the action of the higher levels of the labor organizations.” On September 13, 2014 as well, a leader of the High Center for Iranian Workers’ Trade Associations told ILNA, “Those who are elected as representatives in these organizations, generally lack the required independence; and their goal is to be able to reach the higher ranks.” Obviously, by using the word “generally”, this so called labor leader wishes to distinguish himself from other “labor leaders” of the government made organizations.

Because of growth of the labor’s protest movement and yellow labor organizations’ lack of utility, Rouhani government and the Ministry of Labor even see the need for utilizing management organizations as labor organizations. As an example, on September 7, 2014, President of the Central Province Bus Drivers’ Trade Association reported of “illegal formation of at least 5 drivers’ trade organizations in this province”; and indicated, “The new associations…..only attach the labor’s name to themselves and their members are in fact managers.” On September 14 as well, speaking to ILNA, Secretary of the Center for Construction Workers’ Trade Associations, while criticizing the Minister of Labor for not responding to his protest letters reported of “activities of characteristically managerial companies, where with the Ministry of Labor’s assistance, present themselves as representative of the construction workers.”

We must put an end to all this injustice, exploitation, and oppression, in the name of the law, by agents of the Islamic Republic. We must confront oppression and exploitation; and take back our trampled rights and human dignity. The only way for workers to achieve their rightful rights, is through formation of independent labor organizations, and unity in action among different segments of the labor movement. Labor leaders, who have spent their lives in struggle for restoration of their fellow workers’ rights, must resolutely be defended. Razy Petrochemical factory workers must know that the independent labor syndicates and the working class are resolutely behind them. Workers’ success in achieving their class interests, only with continued struggle, unity and solidarity will become possible.