May Day is the day of international solidarity of the working class; the day of workers’ worldwide protest against poverty and inequality. On this day millions of workers throughout the world stop work, take over the streets, declare their outrage at the countless calamities that capitalism has imposed on humanity, and shout out the cause of liberation from oppression and exploitation and the building of a better world.
The protest at the hardships of the capitalist system and workers’ call for equality echoes around the world at a time when in Iran the celebration of this day is banned; right now many organisers of May Day 2009 have either been sentenced to prison or are threatened with heavy sentences, and tens of worker activists and leaders are in prison for building workers’ organisations and defending their human rights.
Such horrific lack of social rights is being imposed on workers in Iran at a time when capitalism in Iran, three decades after the 1979 revolution, has cut the workers’ pay to a quarter of the poverty line; by not paying workers’ wages on time, by mass firings and layoffs and through temporary and so-called ‘blank’ contracts, it has imposed appalling impoverishment on millions of working-class families. In addition, to ensure ever more profits for capital, they are abolishing subsidies and closing down factories, so as to take away the last means of sustenance from the tables of workers’ families to pockets of capitalists.
But as we showed in the 1979 revolution and have shown in the past few years, we the workers of Iran will not put up with such impoverishment and lack of rights, and despite imprisonment and repression, we will stand up to the violation of our most evident rights, at the forefront of the people of Iran, and will not let them ruin our livelihood and the right to life even further. We are the main producers of the wealth and resources of society, and regard it as our right and the right of all the people of Iran to enjoy a human life at the highest standards possible for humanity today.
Towards this end, while protesting against the current situation which since May Day last year has subjected workers and people of Iran to repression and lack of rights, we insist on the following demands and call for their immediate and unconditional realisation:
1- It is our indisputable right to set up organisations independent of the state and employers, to strike, to protest, to demonstrate, to assemble and to exercise free speech; these rights should be recognised as the inviolable social rights of workers and all the people of Iran;
2- We regard the plan to abolish subsidies (so-called ‘goal-oriented’ subsidies) and a minimum wage of 303 thousand tomans [US$300 dollars] per month tantamount to imposing a gradual death on millions of workers’ families; we call for the immediate stoppage of the plan to abolish subsidies and for the rise in the minimum wage to one million tomans [US$1,000].
3- Workers’ delayed wages must be paid immediately and without any excuses; failure to pay wages must be made a prosecutable offence, and workers affected reimbursed with damages;
4- Firings and layoffs under any excuses must be stopped; all unemployed persons and all those who have reached the age of employability and are ready for work should be provided with unemployment benefit at a level which affords a dignified human life;
5- We demand the abolition of temporary and ‘blank’ contracts; we demand job security for workers and all wage-earners, the highest possible standards of hygiene and safety at work, and the dismantling of all government-sponsored bodies in the workplace;
6- We demand the abolition of the death penalty and the immediate and unconditional release of Ebrahim Madadi, Mansoor Ossanlou, Ali Nejati and all worker activists and all activists of other social protest movements, and the revoking of all judicial actions against them;
7- While condemning any attack against workers’ and people’s protests, we regard protesting against lack of rights and free expression as the indisputable and inviolable right of workers and all people;
8- We demand the repeal of all discriminatory laws against women and full and unconditional equality of women and men in all fields of social, economic, political, cultural and family life;
9- We demand the provision of a prosperous life for pensioners, free of economic worries, and an end to any discrimination in payment of pensions, as well as the provision of social and medical care;
10- Child labour must be abolished; all children, irrespective of their parents’ economic and social status, and regardless of gender and national, racial or religious attributions, must be provided with equal and free educational, welfare and medical services;
11- We declare our support for all social movements which are demanding freedom, and strongly condemn the arrest, prosecution and imprisonment of their activists;
12- While declaring our categorical support for the demands of teachers, nurses and other working people in society, we regard ourselves as their allies and call for the immediate realisation of their demands;
13- We are part of workers of the world, and condemn the firing of, and any discrimination against, immigrant Afghan workers and workers of other nationalities;
14- While expressing our appreciation for all acts of international solidarity with the struggle of the workers in Iran, and while categorically supporting the struggles and demands of workers around the world, we regard ourselves as their allies, and more than any time before stress the international solidarity of workers for liberation from the hardships of the capitalist system;
15- May Day must be recognised as an official holiday and designated as such in the national calendar; any prohibition of and restrictions on the celebration of this day must be ended.
Long live May Day
Long live workers’ international solidarity
1st May 2010
– Union of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs United Bus Company
– Union of Workers of Haft Tappeh Sugar Cane Company
– Free Union of Workers in Iran
– Committee for the Re-opening of Metal and Mechanical Workers’ Union
– Committee for the Re-opening of Painting Workers’ Union
– Association of Kermanshah Electrical and Metal Workers
– Follow-up Committee for Setting Up Free Workers’ Organisations
– Co-ordinating Committee to Help Set Up Workers’ Organisations
– Association to Defend Sacked and Unemployed Workers of Saghez
– Women’s Council
[Translated by the International Labour Solidarity Committee of the Worker-communist Party of Iran. [email protected] www.kargaran.org]