Irán, República Islámica del - Labour leaders arrested in run up to May Day

Tehran Security Police arrested two members of the Union of Workers of the Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company, Ebrahim Maddadi and Davood Razavi, in their homes on 29 April 2015, and two other labour activists, Mahmoud Salehi and Osman Ismaili, were arrested in the city of Saqez in the Kurdistan Province on 28 April. On 25 April, plainclothes security agents in Sanandaj, Kurdistan, arrested the labour activist Reza Amjadi.
The arrests came against a background of mounting worker unrest over the impact on workers of international sanctions and economic mismanagement, with 70 per cent of workers below the official poverty line and 90 per cent of workers on temporary contracts. Over the preceding six months many workers had not been paid at all and it was calculated that between March 2014 and March 2015, there were at least 233 protests throughout the country, with strikes in the automotive industry, petrochemicals, mining, cement production, and other sectors, as well as the widespread teachers’ protests.
The response to such protest is to dismiss the workers, arrest the strike leaders, and send them to prison. With May Day imminent the government feared further unrest, viewing any labour mobilisation as a national security threat.
For nine years, labour organisations have not been able to obtain legal permits from the authorities to stage May Day parades. Workers have only been allowed to mark International Workers Day in programmes organised by the government.

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