In the last few days hundreds of Tehran bus workers have been arrested. The arrests began on Friday January 27 as workers prepared to go on strike the following day in on January 28 in pursuit of their demands for the release of their leader, Mansour Ossanlou, higher wages and better conditions. Mansour Ossanlou has been held in detentions since December 22 (see previous CWI website report published on January 5).
On January 28 the workers union issued the following international appeal.
Demand immediate release of all jailed bus workers!
On behalf of the 17,000 workers of the Vahed Bus Co. of Tehran we inform the workers’ organizations of the world and all those who have been moved by the suppression of the most basic human rights, that today, January 28th, our widespread strike was confronted by the unprecedented attack of the agents of the Islamic Republic.
On the previous night they attacked our homes, even took our young children to prison, and a large number that is certainly over hundreds, were arrested (we still do not have the precise number). A number of our co-workers were forced to drive buses after being beaten and threatened. A number of drivers who had been hired by the military organisations, as well as thousands of police and security agents, both plain clothes and uniformed, were unleashed on us so that they can smash our strike. This is our [current] situation.
What was the strike about? For the release of Mr. Ossanlou and other leaders of the union, who were also without any reason and through bullying thrown into jail; signing a collective contract; union recognition; for a pay rise and the like. Can you believe that for these demands such a merciless and massive war was started? The Islamic Republic has done this and we have no choice other than to continue our struggle in a more determined and united way.
We ask you, our co-workers and our co-destined, throughout the world, who can have your own unions and organisations, we request that you condemn this act of the Iranian government. We expect that you demand the immediate and unconditional release of all that have been arrested. Demand that our union be recognized and our demands met. We expect that you will condemn the smashing of our strike and that you will demand that all those who attacked the striking workers are tried and sentenced.
We also thank all the unions and organizations that have supported our struggles. We have a long and hard struggle ahead of us and urge you to continue your support.
Trade Union of the Vahed Bus Co. of Tehran and Suburbs
Internationally trade unionists, socialists and other activists are asked to support these workers. Resolutions should be passed by all organizations in support of:
- Immediate release of all the arrested workers, including the leader of the union, Mansour Ossanlou
- Drop all the charges against the members of the Tehran transport workers’ union
- End on attacks on the Tehran transport workers’ union and all other genuine trade unions in Iran.
- Agree to the transport workers’ demands for increased pay and better working conditions.
Emails and letters of protest should be sent to the President of Islamic Republic of Iran:
Dr Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Palestine Avenue, Azerbaijan Intersection
Islamic Republic of Iran
Fax: ++98 21 648 0665
Letters of protest should also be addressed to the Iranian Embassies or to:
The Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations
622 Third Ave. New York,
Fax: ++1 212 867 7086
Please send copies of all protests to