Five imprisoned bus drivers, all members of the executive board of Tehran's bus workers' union, and Sattar Amini, a metal worker, were released on bail on Saturday and Sunday 18 and 19 March. However, the head of the union, Mansoor Ossanlou, and Afshin Bahrami, an auto worker from Iran Khodro car plant, remain in prison.
On Saturday Ebrahim Madadi and Yaghoub Salimi were greeted with flowers and embraced by their colleagues outside Evin Prison in Tehran. Three other members of the union’s executive, namely, Mansoor Hayat Gheibi, Gholamreza Mirzaee and Ebrahim Noroozi Gohari, along with Sattar Amini, a metal worker who was in prison for his support for the bus workers, were released on 19 March.
Meanwhile, the authorities have begun the systematic dismissal of hundreds of bus workers arrested in connection with the strike of 28 January. Most of these workers were later released following worldwide protests, culminating in an international day of labour action on Iran on 15 February.
The workers have been locked out without pay for over six weeks. On 9 March the 'termination of contracts’ of a group of 46 workers — most union activists — was confirmed (see Update 19). The state-owned company (Sherkat e Vahed) said the dismissal orders came from the intelligence authorities. A “disciplinary committee” is reportedly working its way through a long list of workers to be fired for their part in the strike of 28 January. The strike had been called to press for the release of Mansoor Ossanlou, recognition of the union and collective bargaining.
Ossanlou has been in prison since 22 December 2005 and suffers from a heart condition and an eye injury sustained in an attack last May on a meeting of the union.
The campaign for the release of Mansoor Ossanlou and Afshin Bahrami, reinstatement of the sacked workers and the workers’ rightful demands for union activity and collective bargaining continues. Letters of protest may be sent to the President of the Islamic Republic, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, at email@example.com.
Thanks for information to the International Labour Solidarity Committee of the Worker-communist Party of Iran.