Following the arrests of workers that followed the international Labor Day activities, news reports and human rights announcements indicate a rise in the arrest of labor activists and workers. Speaking to Rooz, Mahmoud Salehi, a labor rights activist, described the recent confrontations with workers and said the pressure on the labor force this year was significantly greater than what they witnessed in previous years.
The website of the Human Rights Reporters announced the arrest of Mohammad Ehyai, a labor activist with one of the automobile manufacturers near Tehran on Nay 5thand wrote that this worker was summoned to return to the plant’s office as he was leaving the workplace where he was asked questions and then arrested by plain-clothes officers.
Ehyai along with a number of other worker activists had been protesting the non-payment of the wages of workers and the transfer of factories to specific state agencies and intended to go on strike over these, for which they were confronted at the plant and stopped.
The group also reported that Mohammad Ghasemkhani and Bahram Saeedi, two other labor activists were arrested on May 3rd, a day after their sit in in front of the Majlis. They were employees of the Iran Khodrow auto manufacturing plant, who were arrested as they entered their workplace.
In recent weeks, the following labor activists, Aram Zandi, Fardin Ghaderi, Shahpour Hosseini, Jalil Mohammadi, Hamed Mahmudinejad, Nastaran Mohammadi and Bakhtiar Chantani were arrested in the Kurdish town of Sanandaj.
The committee for helping create labor unions issued a statement condemning the arrests. It also announced that among those who were detained Nastaran Mohammadi, Bakhtiar Chantani and Aram Zandi had been released, each on a 50 million Toman bond (the market exchange rate stands at about 38,450 Rials to a US Dollar). Salehi told Rooz that the arrest of Mohammadi and Mahmudinejad was not related to the independent Labor Day events in Sanandaj. Mahmudinejad who had been recently released from prison after serving his term, and Mohammadi were arrested by security officials as they were going about their normal daily routines, and taken to the ministry of intelligence offices in Sanandaj.
The international Labor Day was celebrated in Iran on May 1, as it was in other parts of the world. This was the sixth year when the annual labor march was banned in Tehran which forced workers to gather at a sports complex in southern Tehran in the presence of government officials when they also announced their demands.
At this meeting, Alireza Mahjoob, the secretary general of the state-run Khane Kargar, a labor group, declared controlling inflation and raising the daily wage to be the leading demands of the workers in the country.
At the same time, a small group of workers gathered in front of Iran’s parliament, the Majlis who called on officials to investigate their unpaid wage situation and inflation.
Other towns in Iran, such as those in Kurdistan, also witnessed independent labor gatherings of their own on the occasion of the international labor day.
While saying that security measures had increased this year, Salehi also indicated that two plain-clothes agents were present at the street where he lived and monitored his whereabouts through binoculars.
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