Reported by PMOI/MEK
Oct. 20, 2018 - Five labor unions, including International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF), Education International, Industrial Global Union and The International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant (IUF) raised concerns and expressed “deep shock” over the demand of prosecutor general in Qazvin province, central Iran, to execute 17 detained truck drivers arrested during the nationwide strikes that started in early October.
The international unions described the demand as a blatant violation of labor rights, and called it unacceptable to execute laborers for demanding their economic rights.
The International Transport Workers' Federation is a global federation of transport workers' trade unions, founded in 1896. In 2017 the ITF had 677 member organizations in 149 countries.
In their letter, international unions asked the Iranian regime’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, to revoke the accusation against the drivers and to ensure their security.
In addition, the unions called on the Committee on Freedom of associations and the Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations (ILO), to remind the regime its responsibilities to respect the fundamental rights of laborers.
Previously, NCRI president Maryam Rajavi called on all human rights organizations, labor rights defenders, unions and labor syndicates to support the truckers’ strike and to act urgently for release of detained drivers. “When regime threatens strikers with death, it must be isolated by the international community,” she said.
The nationwide strike of truck drivers started on September 23, 2018 and continued for 3 weeks, spreading to 310 cities in all provinces.
Many drivers were arrested on charge of “disturbing the transportation and provoking the drivers to strike.” The arrests were made in many provinces including Tehran, Fars, Isfahan, Khorasan Razavi, Kurdistan, Lorestan, Western Azerbaijan, Zanjan, Qazvin, Alborz, Hamedan, Charmahal Bakhtiari, Kermanshah, Kerman and Bushehr.
The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) supported Iran truckers’ strike, “The ITF is extremely concerned that news emerging from Iran has detailed a large number of driver arrests. Around 150 truck drivers in various provinces have reportedly been detained for participating in the action, with a spokesperson for the judiciary threatening ‘heavy punishment.’” ITF also added that “Drivers have been protesting about low and unpaid wages, the high cost of parts (including tires), and rising costs of the context of a deteriorating economic situation nationally.”
It is worth mentioning that the truckers’ strike met worldwide support as Teamsters General President James P. Hoffa pledged the union’s support for Iranian truck drivers who went on strike on September 22 to protest low pay, increased operating costs and road usage fees. “The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, representing 1.4 million transportation and supply chain workers in the United States and Canada, stands in solidarity with our Iranian brothers and sisters,” Hoffa wrote in the letter. “We urge the government of Iran to listen to the grievances of striking Iranian truck drivers, address their just demands and recognize their internationally recognized rights to assembly, speech, freedom of association and collective bargaining.”
Truckers said that the cost of spare parts increased 600 percent; the distribution of tires by governmental organizations is unjust; many drivers say that they have not been able to work for 70 days due to tire problems; teamsters’ income is paid in national currency, rial, but parts’ cost are calculated in dollars; despite the high fees, the government does not repair the roads, which causes damage to trucks and moreover, jeopardize drivers lives–the regime’s officials say that the number of people who die in car accidents are more than 30,000 per year.