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From The Socialist newspaper, 12 January 2006

Solidarity with Tehran bus workers

FOURTEEN LEADERS of Tehran's transport workers' union were arrested on 22 December, after staging a 'no-ticket' action against Sherkate Vahed, a state owned bus company in Iran, to demand higher wages.

By an Iranian socialist

Bus workers protested by striking on 25 December. Before the arrest, members of the Islamic militia, Ansar Hezbollah, used violence to try to intimidate the workers. But the protest was solid and most of those arrested were released, but not the union's leadership who face heavy jail sentences for organising the protests.

This strike action was the culmination of collective actions. In October, drivers refused to collect tickets from passengers in protest at their working conditions and low wages which have been frozen for four years while prices soared in Tehran. Transport workers threatened indefinite strike action if their leadership is not released.

The heavy repression by President Ahmadinejad's government demonstrates his regime's increasing weakness. Iran's Islamic clerics understand that an independent trade union movement could be a major force for social change.

This strike action shows a determination amongst Iran's working class to improve their living standards when oil revenues have massively increased and, if necessary, to challenge the Ahmadinejad regime.

While most of those arrested have now been released, bus workers' leader Mansour Osanlou remains in jail and the union's bank account has been frozen. At a mass meeting on 2 January, thousands of Tehran Bus Company workers called for Mansour Osanlou's immediate release.

Internationally trade unionists and socialists are asked to send resolutions demanding:

Emails of protest should be sent to the Iranian President at: dr-ahmadinejad@president.ir

Send letters of protest to Iranian embassies or to: The Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations 622 Third Ave. New York, NY 10017. Please send copies to cwi@worldsoc.co.uk and nysolidarity@yahoo.com

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In The Socialist 12 January 2006:

Defend the NHS

Fight back against far right

Stop the privatisation of council housing

Tuition fees repel poor students

Striking for jobs, services and rights

Successful tube strike must be escalated

Make your mind up time for Lib Dems?

For an alternative to New Labour

Democratic discussion, debate and decision-making

Priorities and opportunities in 2006

Fighting for socialist ideas world wide

109,315 - a record year for the fighting fund!

Solidarity with Tehran bus workers

After Sharon, what next?


 

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