The presence of the Islamic Republic in the ILO conference is tantamount to the violation of Iranian workers’ rights by this organization.

Letter from the ILC to ITUC regarding the 112th meeting of the ILO.

Cc: To labour unions in various countries

Dear Colleagues,

The annual meetings of the ILO hold special significance as unions and labor organizations from around the world come together to advance the general interests of workers. This gathering is particularly important for Iranian workers, as it provides an opportunity for global labor organizations to express solidarity and practical support for their colleagues in Iran.

We know that the ITUC and many labour unions from various countries have consistently protested against the Islamic Republic in support of Iranian workers. However, these actions have not impacted the situation of Iranian workers. For example, in its recent 2023 report, the ITUC gave Iran the worst score of -5, indicating “no guarantee of rights” for workers. Despite this, the Iranian government has not yet been placed on the list of the worst violators of workers’ rights.

On Sunday, May 26, 2024, the official media of the Islamic Republic reported a very shameful incident. Gilbert Houngbo, the Director-General of the ILO, sent a video message to Iran’s Minister of Labour on the occasion of the governmental “National Labour Conference.” In this message, he offered condolences for the death of “Raisi,” who, due to his responsibilities in the government, was one of the main violators of workers’ rights in Iran and ordered the killing of thousands of Iranians. Mr. Houngbo also stated that the Islamic Republic has been a long-time supporter of the ILO’s missions. In his video message, he emphasized the continuation of cooperation and participation with the Islamic Republic and expressed his eagerness to meet the Iranian Minister of Cooperatives, Labour, and Social Welfare at the ILO’s annual conference.

The fundamental question for the ILO is this: Given that all documents and reports from independent sources indicate a blatant violation of workers’ rights and brutal suppression of labour movement activists by the Iranian government, does the ILO consider this level of repression to be in line with its own missions, to the extent that it regards the Islamic Republic as a supporter of its missions?

In our view, the extent of complaints and protests by labour organizations from various countries, as well as the ITUC and other international labour organizations, to the ILO regarding the continued membership of the Islamic Republic in this organization, and the recognition of the fraudulent labour delegation sent by the Iranian government, serves as an indicator of their commitment to guaranteeing workers’ rights and expressing solidarity with Iranian workers.

Here, we mention the members of the labor delegation sent by the Islamic Republic to the ILO conference.

Somayeh Golpour Chamarkoohi as the representative of Iranian workers, Oliya Alibeigi, Reza Arab Ahmadi, Majid Firouzabadi Yazd, Mehran Ghassempour, and Seyedmohammad Yarahmadian have been announced as the alternate and advisory members of the labour delegation sent by the Islamic Republic to the 112th ILO meeting this June.

But who are these people?

Somayeh Golpour Chamarkoohi is the head of the High Association of Trade Unions, which is an entirely governmental, undemocratic body used by political factions of the government to suppress Iranian workers. The other delegates are also members of this association and the Supreme Council of Islamic Labour Councils.

These governmental organizations, created by the state and staffed with government-approved members, play a central role in the government’s repressive policies to violate workers’ rights.

As we have previously stated, workers’ wages in Iran are extremely low and below the poverty line. These wages are approved annually with the cooperation of these governmental organizations, whose members are sent to the ILO conferences as representatives of Iranian workers. Keep in mind that members of the governmental organization Islamic Labour Council, whose representative is present at the meeting, have played a role in the suppression, beating, and imprisonment of independent labour activists in recent years.

These are just a few examples of the repressive actions by members of the state organizations who come to the ILO conferences under the guise of representing Iranian workers.

At the ILO conference, reports on the implementation of conventions and issues such as fundamental principles and rights at work are set to be presented as part of the agenda.

The Islamic Republic has not signed ILO Conventions 87 and 98, which pertain to the right to organize and hold meetings and to promote collective bargaining. However, according to international declarations, all members are obligated to adhere to the ILO’s fundamental conventions. In contrast, the Iranian government has brutally suppressed all efforts to establish independent labour organizations and has imprisoned their activists.

Dear Colleagues,

We call for the non-recognition of the delegation sent by the Islamic Republic as representatives of Iranian workers at the international conference. Additionally, the demand for the expulsion of the Islamic Republic from the ILO is a crucial demand from Iranian workers.

We urge all unions and labour organizations worldwide to strongly protest to the ILO for its appeasement of the Islamic Republic’s agents and to seriously advocate for the expulsion of the Iranian government’s delegation from the ILO’s annual conference.

This can only happen if a consensus is formed among several labour unions and international labour organizations.

More than forty million workers and employees in Iran, without the right to establish independent labor unions, are under severe repression and the violation of their human rights. They continue to carry out persistent but scattered protests. They will undoubtedly be watching both the appeasement by international organizations with the Islamic Republic and the support from their colleagues in other countries.

Iran Labour Confederation – Abroad

May 29, 2024

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