Monday, July 16, 2007

Labor Unions Under Fire

Mahmoud Osanloo, head of the Workers’ Syndicate of Tehran Bus Company, was abducted near his house on 10 July by plainclothesmen, presumably from the Ministry of Intelligence, and has not been heard from since.

Since Ahmadinejad’s election in 2005, his government has begun to directly control union activities in Iran. Although Iran is a member of ILO, the Geneva-based International Labor Organization, but the government has consistently violated ILO rules.

Ahmadinejad’s Ministry of Labor routinely opposes and suppresses strikes by trade unions, the pillar of ILO regulations. The Ministry even sends its own official as labor representatives to ILO meetings.

The country is facing high unemployment and low wages but the labor unions are not allowed to openly oppose the government’s policies or take direct action to safeguard their members’ interests.

ILNA, the news agency closely associated with the labor movement in Iran, was also banned by the government. The ninth government is proving to be one of the staunchest opponents of the labor movement in Iran.

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