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Toronto conference pledges continuing support for victimised Iran trade unionists
16 November 2012
Two hundred trade union representatives from around the world pledged today in Toronto, Canada, to continue supporting their colleagues in Iran who are suffering intimidation and imprisonment.
The delegates, who speak for road and rail unions worldwide, are meeting at a groundbreaking ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation) conference that is setting the global agenda for their future work on issues such as privatisation, deregulation, logistics and global supply chains. Hosted by the CAW (Canadian Auto Workers Union), It brings together 200 delegates from 76 trade unions in 44 countries.
ITF unions have led the defence of independent transport unions in Iran, including the successful fight to release from jail Mansour Osanloo, the courageous leader of the Tehran Bus Workers' Union (Vahed Syndicate) and his colleague Ebrahim Madadi.
The conference heard evidence of widespread infringements of workers' rights in Iran including non-payment of wages, imprisonment of trade unionists and flagrant abuse of the basic right to choose to belong to a trade union. It unanimously agreed the following statement:
‘We demand in particular the immediate release from prison in Tehran of Reza Shahabi, the treasurer of the Vahed Syndicate. Reza Shahabi is suffering from extremely poor health as a result of his incarceration and the circumstances of his detention which has included torture and extended periods of solitary confinement.
Reza has been imprisoned purely because of his trade union activities and his determination to represent his fellow workers.
We, affiliates of the ITF re-pledge ourselves to demand the freedom of this unjustly imprisoned prisoner of conscience. Freedom for Reza. Freedom for all prisoners of conscience. ‘
ITF president Paddy Crumlin stated: “This promise from our colleagues in road and rail will be taken up throughout the ITF, which is involved in every field of transport worldwide. The ITF and its friends in the international union movement has shamed Iran into positive action before and we will not rest until workers in Iran can freely enjoy the basic rights that the rest of us take for granted.”
The conference also agreed that Mansour Osanloo and Ebrahim Madadi should be allowed to return to their jobs as bus drivers in Tehran.
For more information contact ITF press officer, Sam Dawson.
Direct line: + 44 (0)20 7940 9260.
International Transport Workers' Federation - ITF:
ITF House, 49 - 60 Borough Road, London SE1 1DS
Tel: + 44 (0) 20 7403 2733
Fax: + 44 (0) 20 7375 7871
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