The following letter, addressing world labour organisations, was issued in Tehran on Monday 27 February by Tehran bus workers’ union:
The Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company (Sherkat e Vahed) is most grateful to all the world’s labour organisations for their unsparing support for our newly-formed organisation.
The efforts and protests of Tehran Vahed Bus Company drivers and workers for their lawful, welfare [trade-union] demands, which have continued without let-up to this day, have included repeated visits to the Labour Ministry and [Tehran] Municipality, many rounds of negotiations with the relevant authorities and protest actions such as sit-ins, driving the buses with the lights on and two strikes.
In the second strike, members of the union’s executive board and over 850 union activists were arrested. At the moment, six of the union’s executive board members are being held in Section 209 of Evin Prison on the charge of building a union [syndicate]. They are: Mansoor Ossanlou, Ebrahim Madadi, Mansoor Hayat Gheibi, Ali Zad Hossein, Yaghoub Salimi and Ebrahim Noroozi Gohari
Furthermore, all the striking workers arrested on the day of the strike have been laid off. The authorities are refusing to address the sacked drivers’ grievances; rather, they are supporting the bullying employers.
Therefore the Syndicate of Workers and Drivers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company declares that the demands of the workers and drivers of the bus company are rightful, lawful and welfare in nature, and that, as the workers’ genuine representatives, we will stand by the workers until the achievement of all their legitimate, welfare demands. Furthermore, the Syndicate, on behalf of the bus company’s drivers and workers, demands:
1. the unconditional release of all the members of the union’s executive;
2. the reinstatement of all the laid-off workers; and
3. the meeting of workers’ rightful welfare demands, such as correction of the basic pay, the signing of a collective agreement and election of a genuine representative.
We would also like to inform you that the Syndicate of drivers and workers of Vahed Bus Company is independent of any party or group. We ask all the world’s labour and progressive organisations to support this newly-formed and legitimate organisation.
The Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company
• Website: www.syndicavahed.org
• Email: email@example.com
• Translated by the International Labour Solidarity Committee of the Worker-communist Party of Iran (ILSC-WPI) www.kargaran.org