21 March 2014 – Transport workers in Iran continued the fight back against reported ongoing anti-union behaviour with a protest at Iranian government offices earlier this month.
The cost of goods and services in the country has soared over the last few years. Wages have increased at a much slower rate, which makes everyday living more difficult.
Low pay is a central issue for members of the ITF-affiliated Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company (Vahed union), who staged a protest outside the Iranian ministry of labour on 5 March. It has also been reported that police detained two union members in an unrelated incident in February.
The ITF has campaigned alongside workers in Iran for some years. In particular, it has supported the Vahed union against ongoing repression from the Iranian authorities. The Vahed union’s treasurer, Reza Shahabi, was arrested and beaten in 2010 – apparently because of his union work. Shahabi remains imprisoned and reportedly still suffers physically as a result of the beating. Shahabi will reportedly undergo surgery for his injuries next month.
The ITF has protested against the Iranian government’s treatment of workers. ITF inland transport secretary Mac Urata said: “We’re keeping a watchful eye on the situation in Iran. The Vahed union is doing a great job in fighting what seems to be systematic oppression of workers’ rights. We will continue to offer the union our support.”