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WFTU Still Embraces the State-Controlled 'Workers' House' in Iran

Peter sez:

On an occasional vist to the site of the World Federation of Trade Unions, I noted the conference presence of a representative of the Iranian Workers' House. This is Item 1 below. In search of more information about this body, I found this condemnation of the WH and appeal to WFTU by a Western-based solidarity group. This is Item 2 below. Further information about the WH can be found on the website listed at the end of this item (there is a button on the Iranian-language site for ENGLISH).

Now read on...

Item 1

International Trade Union Conference (day 2). Speech of comrade Mr....

11 April 2012


In the name of God, the compassionate the merciful.

Mr. President, distinguish delegates,

 First of all I would like to congratulate you for your election to the presidency of this auspicious International Trade Union Conference on the subject of “The developments in the Arab world and the position of the Trade Union Organizations”. I also would like to take this opportunity to thank the officials of WFTU for taking this initiative of organizing this Conference, on the this topic, which is the burning issue and should be discussed at length, during the two days sitting. We hope that the Conference would be a mile stone in support of the workers of the Arab World and would send a clear message to the authoritarian governments in those countries that the time has come to surrender to the long standing wishes of their people, full filling their demands of a democratic government, in which the people and specially the workers have a say in it.

It’s like a open book that the changes taken place in the Arab World, specially Egypt, Libya, Tunis, had been due to autocratic governments imposed on the people by those countries by the imperialistic powers for their self interest. These powers have set the puppet governments against the will of the people to plunder the wealth of those countries. And once their due date is over, imperialism tries to reinstate a new puppet to safe guard their vested interest. The uprising taken place in the Arab World, which started about two years ago, have reaped fruits in some countries, whereas, the struggle is going on in other countries, which we hope that the their people will succeed in their struggles. The totalitarian governments of these countries must learn lesson from the history, and surrender to the wishes of their people, otherwise their fate would be similar to the dictators of the region, who have been thrown down in the dustbin of the history.

Trade Union organizations have always played a vital role in the struggle for freedom and achieving their right for decent work. Keeping in-view the time constraints of individual speeches, I will only highlight the positions of some of the trade union organization in the Arab World. 

 Firstly, Saudi Arabia, there is not a single trade union in this country, because the law does not allow them to exist. It has banned the trade unions and violates all international labor standards. Employees are only allowed to  organize  so called “workers committees” which include the participation of the government and employer. Unions, collective bargaining, strikes, even public demonstrations are banned. The law also openly discriminates against women, and in many cases women needed permission from  their “guardian” in order to be employed. Women who do work, specially the 1.5 million female domestic servants, who bear the burnt of  abuses, with many working in slavery conditions. Thousands of migrant workers are victims  of torture, work long hours, live in confined conditions, and in general are deprived of their basic freedoms.

 Secondly, regarding the developments taken place in Bahrain, unfortunately, the Imperialism powers have followed a double standard policy. On one hand they are shedding crocodile tears regarding the situation in Syria, but have over looked the realities in connection with peaceful struggle of people of Bahrain. The minority rulers have deprived the majority their legitimate right for decent work. The 501 page report of Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry(BICI), released on                  23 November, highlights the brutalities of government forces including beatings, torture, arbitrary arrests, dismissals and a range of other serious rights violations, aimed  particularly the country’s trade union organization. The report evaluating  the events of February and March 2011 has confirmed the sacking of thousands of workers in retaliation for participation in demonstrations and legal strikes. The report further reiterates the government created an environment which encouraged the sacking and applied the law in a racially discriminatory manner, and that the vast majority  cases, the firings were illegal under domestic and international law.

The General Federation of Bahrain Trade Unions have called for immediate reinstatement of, and compensation to , all trade unions leaders and workers. It also stressed the importance of holding accountable those undertook the dismissal measures in violation of law, as well as those who targeted trade union leaders because of their activity, in order to ensure that these practices will not occur again. Labor activist report that “the workers who have been reinstated were brought back to inferior posts or have been forced in many cases to agree to unacceptable conditions”. Beside that, many trade unionist still continue to face criminal prosecution for participating in strikes and demonstrations last year.

 In Jordon trade union rights are very restrictive. The union activists face discrimination and, in the case of migrants, deportations. Several major strikes were held throughout the year including protests by teachers demanding the right to form an independent association. The workers in private companies and in some public corporations have the right to form trade unions. Fifty founding members are required to establish a union, and approval by the Ministry of Labor is required for it to become officially registered. Civil servants, as well as gardeners and cooks, are not covered by the Labor Code, and non-citizens are denied the right to organize.         400 migrant workers at the “Rainbow” Textile & Garment Factory went on strike over poor working conditions, including poor food and water. The trade union had been complaining for months, but nothing had been done. According to the union, the factory management had not taken any steps to improve the conditions. According to the most recent statistics by Ministry of Labor, 71% of the approximately 458,000 foreign workers employed in Jordan are Egyptian. There are repeated reports of ill treatment of Egyptian workers despite several efforts to protect their right.

Finally coming to the events in Syria, its crystal clear that Syria is the last ring to complete the chain of international imperial arrogance, so that’s why its being subject to most dangerous aggressive and regressive conspiracy. The Syria has always stuck to its national principles and had totally refused the pressures and orders imposed by imperial and regressive powers.  After failure of imperial countries in using the UN security council to use pressure against Syria, they have directed their attention to use  Arab League as a tool to implement the American-Zionist project in the Arab region. We hope that the present peace plan by Kofi Annan will able to impede all international imperial plots against Syria, restoring peace and stability in that country. We are sure that Syria will remain a stubborn enemy of imperialism, racism and Zionism.

 In the end, I would like to thank WFTU  for taking initiative to organize this conference and hope that the deliberations presented by the participants would  serve as a mile stone in the developments taking place in the Arab world and trade union organizations. “Inshallah”

Item 2

Open Letter to the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU)
Stop collaboration with
Workers’ House of the Islamic Republic of Iran

March 13, 2011: We are writing this open letter to once again strongly condemn the WFTU leadership’s collaboration and close relationship with the Workers’ House of the Islamic Republic of Iran and its Islamic Labour Councils, which are both notoriously known to be government-sponsored repressive organizations.
We have been informed that representatives of the Workers’ House of the Islamic Republic of Iran have been invited to attend the WFTU’s 16th World Trade Union Congress, Athens Greece, April 6-10, 2011. This will be considered a big slap in the face of the Iranian labour movement and independent workers’ organizations in Iran and their activists who are being incessantly persecuted and imprisoned while Workers’ House’s representatives are walking freely and travelling abroad with the full-backing of the capitalist Islamic regime of Iran. The WFTU leadership must stop this disgraceful practice immediately. The working class of Iran will never forget the collaboration of the WFTU leadership with the Iranian government and their agents at the Workers’ House.
We wrote the open letter attached below to the WFTU in October 2007 and since then we have been sending news and campaigns about workers’ rights and struggles in Iran and on the plight of Iranian labour activists who are imprisoned, sacked and persecuted to many of WFTU affiliates and its headquarters as well. We, among many other progressive labour organizations in Iran and abroad, have been issuing numerous statements about the Workers’ House’ anti-worker/ pro-regime character. We strongly believe that there are no more excuses for the WFTU leadership to continue their collaboration and friendly relationship with the Workers’ House. Unfortunately, the WFTU’s leadership has decided to disregard our letters and also the protests of other Iranian labour activists against their collaborations with the Workers’ House of the brutal and anti-worker regime in Iran.
We once again assert that labour gatherings and congresses must be places for the real and genuine representatives of workers and not government-sponsored, anti-worker individuals and establishments such as the Workers’ House and its delegates.
We are calling on all affiliates of the WFTU, many of whom have been supporting independent labour movement in Iran despite the official position of the WFTU, to pressure the leadership of the WFTU to severe all their ties with the Islamic Republic of Iran and its so called “Workers’ House”.

Please see the statements below for more information; or contact the following persons:
Mahchid Modjaverian (mahchid@wanadoo.fr)
(CGT-France Transport)

Farid C. Partovi (info@workers-iran.org)

(President, Canadian Union of Public Employees, Local 4772) ***

cc: WFTU affiliates, and labour, progressive and anti-capitalist organizations in Iran and other countries.

International Alliance in Support of Workers in Iran (IASWI)


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