· Ali Nejati freed on bail! Jail sentences for Haft Tapeh workers!
· Launch of “Committee in Defence of Haft Tapeh Workers”
Ali Nejati freed on bail
Jail sentences for Haft Tapeh workers
April 14, 2009- According to the Committee in Defence of Haft Tapeh Workers, Mr. Ali Nejati, president of the executive board of the Syndicate of Workers of Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane Company, was freed on bail from the City of Dezful Prison at 5 PM on April 14, 2009.
Mr. Nejati was arrested on March 8, 2009 by agents of the Intelligence Ministry. He was first detained by the Intelligence branch in city of Shoush. Later he was transferred to Dezful prison. He also spent some time in intelligence office in city of Ahwaz, the centre of Khuzistan province.
Hundreds of workers at the Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane Plantation and Industry Company in Shush (Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane Company) launched a strike action on April 7th demanding the freedom of Ali Nejati and the payment of their two months of unpaid wages. Moreover, there have been numerous protests internationally by labour activists and organization in support of Mr. Nejati.
Other news from Iran indicate that five members of the executive board of the Haft Tapeh Workers’ syndicate, including Ali Nejati, have been sentenced to one year imprisonment and a three year ban on involvement in labour activities including running for any elected positions. Another Haft Tapeh activist has been summoned to the Intelligence Office after he spoke up during the Haft Tapeh workers’ strike on April 7th. A more detailed report on all this will be issued soon.
International Alliance in Support of Workers in Iran (IASWI)
Launch of “Committee in Defence of Haft Tapeh Workers”
Workers and freedom lovers in Iran and around world!
The workers at the Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane Company are under enormous pressure. After months of efforts and struggle, Haft Tapeh workers set up their own independent organisation in accordance with article 87 and 98 of convention of the International labour Organisation (ILO). On October 2008 the workers elected their representatives in a general assembly; successfully forming the Haft Tapeh Sugar Company Workers’ Syndicate.
As result of unity among the workers, their unpaid wages was paid, the monthly wages of all employees at the company was increased by $70 (70,000 toman), demand for permanent employment of many workers was put under consideration and the sale of plantation field and privatisation of factory was prevented.
However on the following months the workers’ representatives were threatened by authorities. In March 2009 seven members of executive board of the Syndicate, Feridoun Nikoufard, Jalil Ahmadi, Nejat Dehli, Ghorban Alipour, Mohammad Heydari Mehr and Rahim Boshagh were arrested and put under pressure and at end were released on bail. Moreover on March 8, 2009 Ali Nejati president of board of directors of The Syndicate was arrested and still is incarcerated in an unknown location.
There is talk of sacking of the workers in large numbers, privatisation of the factory and the plantation field. Effectively, this means destruction of the whole sugar cane industry in Haft Tapeh. More plainly, the capitalist system not only has put the workers representatives under pressure but is threatening livelihood of 4000 workers and their families.
With deepening of economic crisis, job security of workers is under threat and in the near future we will face mass sacking of workers in other sectors. In such circumstances, unity among the workers is essential. In such circumstances, supporting the Haft Tapeh means that we as workers are defending our own future.
We, the undersigned, while protesting against all these suppressions, express our whole support to the workers at Haft Tapeh and demand an end to the persecution of the executive board members of the Haft Tapeh syndicate and an immediate release of Ali Nejati the president of the board of directors of the Haft Tapeh Sugar Company Workers’ Syndicate.
By the formation of “Committee in Defence of Haft Tapeh Workers” we announce that we will actively participate in the struggle to end suppression of workers at Haft Tapeh. We will support their demands and rights in every possible way, including reporting their activities and calling on workers and human right organisations in Iran and around world to support the workers at Haft Tapeh.
We call on all workers, worker activists, women, students, teachers and writers to join us and participate in this movement of solidarity with workers at Haft Tapeh.
Committee in Defence of Haft Tapeh Workers
March 30, 2009
Supportive individuals and organizations in Iran and other countries are encouraged to send their names and contact information, along with their suggestions and possible resources, to the Defence Committee’s direct email address at email@example.com .
As of this time, hundreds of individuals and tens of organizations have endorsed this campaign and the objectives of the Committee in Defence of Haft Tapeh Workers.
Sample Protest Letter (Updated April 14, 2009)
I am writing to strongly protest against ongoing harassment and persecution of labour activists in Iran, and particularly in recent weeks against leaders of the Syndicate of Workers of Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane Company. The president of the executive board of the union, Ali Nejati, was jailed from March 8th to April 14th and was released on bail after mounting protests including a strike by his colleagues at the Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane Plantation and Industry Company in Shush on April 7th. In less than two months, seven other members of the board of directors of the Haft Tapeh workers’ syndicate had been arrested in following order:
February 22, 2009: Rahim Boshagh
February 28, 2009: Reza Rakhshan
March 2, 2009: Ghorban Alipour and Mohammad Heydari Mehr
March 3, 2009: Feridoun Nikoufard, Jalil Ahmadi and Nejat Dehli
All these workers, with the exception of Mr. Nejati, were released on March 5th and 7th, 2009 on bail. They have been charged with "acting against national security" as a result of their labour activity and the formation of their trade union.
Also, according to the latest news, five members of the executive board of the Haft Tapeh Workers’ syndicate, Ali Nejati, Jalil Ahmadi, Feridoun Nikoufard, Ghorban Alipour and Mohammad Heydari Mehr, have been sentenced to one year imprisonment and a ban on involvement in labour activities including running for any elected positions.
I condemn these attacks on an independent labour organization and its activists. I demand the annulment of all these sentences and an immediate and unconditional freedom of all incarcerated labour activists including Mansour Osanloo, Ebrahim Madadi, Farzad Kamangar, Salam Ghaderi, Khaled Asadi, and Borhan Saeedi who are incarcerated in different jails across the country.
I also ask the Iranian government to respect workers’ rights to organize, assemble and strike, put an end to persecution of labour activists and not to interfere in the affairs of independent workers’ organizations.
Send Copy of your Protest Letters to:
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International Alliance in Support of Workers in Iran (IASWI)