Support the workers in Behshahr and Iran!
To trade unions, labour organisations, political parties, and progressive groups and individual

I am writing to you on behalf of the Worker-communist Party of Iran to both congratulate you on May 1, International Workers' Day, and to call on you to intervene once more in support of the working class in Iran and in condemnation of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

This May 1 is a particularly critical time to defend the working class in Iran given that Iran has been the scene of militant protests in recent months, including for months and years of unpaid wages. The most recent and important protest has been in Behshahr, northern Iran.

On Wednesday 16 April, the streets of Behshahr were the scene of a militant protest of thousands of workers from the chintz-making textile factory reiterating their demand for immediate payment of 25 months of unpaid wages. Thousands of workers from other factories and city residents joined the protest of 30 thousand bringing the city to a complete standstill. The regime sent in reinforcements from other cities to suppress and brutally attack protestors who resisted and forced the regime to retreat and release tens of arrested workers. On Saturday 19 April, thousands took to the streets following their rejection of the government's offer; again, the protestors were attacked, a military curfew imposed, and the protest temporarily suppressed. Such protests have been seen throughout Iran. To name a few:
* 21 April: 350 workers in Samiko protested once more and demanded months of unpaid wages.
* 20 April: Irankenef workers in Gilan again protested 11 months of unpaid wages.
* 19 April: Shadanpour shoe factory workers again protested one year's unpaid wages.
* 19 April: Naghshe Jahan shoe factory workers in Ghazvin demonstrated for unpaid wages and so on.

According to the regime's own statistics, 100,000 workers have not been paid for the past 3-30 months. The actual numbers are much higher. The last statistic reported by government officials placed the number at half a million. According to the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, at least one million workers in Iran did not receive wages from two to 36 months in 2002. Labour protests for unpaid wages have become more wide-spread, militant and organised. Given the characteristics of Iranian society and the Islamic regime in Iran, these protests have not remained limited to labour demands but have been highly political in nature and part of the movement to overthrow the regime. As a result, they have been brutally attacked by the regime while being fully supported by the public.

On May 1, the Worker-communist Party of Iran calls on you to once again unequivocally condemn the Islamic Republic of Iran for its anti-labour policies and practices, non-payment of wages, its repression of labour protests and strikes and its persecution of labour activists. You may send letters of protest to the Islamic regime of Iran condemning its attack on the workers in Behshahr and demanding that it immediately pays all workers their back wages. Your protests will be an important support to the workers and people of Behshahr and Iran in their efforts for freedom and rights and an end to the Islamic regime of Iran.

Long Live May 1! In Solidarity,

Maryam Namazie
International Relations Office