Meat Factory in Ziaran Was Closed

Posted on: June 13th, 2011

HRANA News Agency – The executive chairman of the Labor House in Qazvin Province has announced the closure of the meat factory in the city of Ziaran.

In an interview with ILNA New Agency, Ayd-Ali Karimi said, “They aren’t motivated to increase production or create jobs, but they have all the required resources to pay over $4,000,000 to workers in order to buy back their contracts.”

Pointing out that there are about 110 workers employed at the meat factory in Ziaran, Ayd-Ali Karimi added, “The Privatization Organization that owns the meat factory has bought back the contracts of ninety eight workers and laid off 12 workers who refused to agree with the buyout.”

By pointing out that the Labor Organization of Qazvin has watched while workers have been laid off and dismissed, the executive chairman of the Labor House in Qazvin Province reminded everyone, “The factory has all the necessary and required conditions to continue work.However, the company isn’t determined to do so apparently.”

At the end, Ayd-Ali Karimi said, “Meat factory workers were all permanent laborers with 15-25 years of experience.”

 

Ali Nejati Will Be Tried Again

Posted on: June 11th, 2011

HRANA News Agency – On Saturday, June 11, 2011, Ali Nejati will be tried again on charges for which he has already faced prosecution and served prison time.His trial will be held in Ahvaz Appeals Court, Branch 13.Before being fired from his job, Ali Nejati was a laborer at Haft Tapeh Sugarcane Company.He is one of the board members of Haft Tapeh Sugarcane Company Workers’ Trade Union.

According to a report by the website of the Coordinating Committee to Create Labor Organizations, Ali Nejati has spent six months in prison for the same charge.After his prison term was over, prosecutors attempted to try him again, but the charges were dismissed by the court since they were repetitive.

After the acquittal, because of the prosecutor’s objection and pressure from intelligence officials, Ali Nejati’s case was once again referred to the appeals court at the provincial capital.

During previous court proceedings, the trail was postponed due to Ali Nejati’s heart attack.Now, he is being retried while suffering from heart failure and the clogging of arteries and is physically weak after having undergone several heart surgeries.

For more than two years, Ali Nejati has been the target of pressure, prosecution and imprisonment for representing workers and being a board member of Haft Tapeh Sugarcane Company Workers’ Trade Union.Since he was fired from his job, he has also been suffering financially and has lost the means to support himself.

Once again, Iran’s judiciary and intelligence apparatus is exerting more pressure on Ali Nejati and his family in order to prevent this labor activist to seek justice for workers.He is being tried again on charges for which he has already served prison time.

 

Labor Activist Arrested in Tabriz

Posted on: June 11th, 2011

HRANA News Agency – A labor activist has been arrested in Tabriz, [East Azerbaijan Province], and locked up in this city’s central prison.

According to a report by Urmia Workers Website, Shahrokh Zamoni was arrested on June 7, 2011 and transferred to the central prison in Tabriz.Shahrokh Zamoni is a painter and laborer who was involved in the Committee to Explorer the Establishment of Painters Union and then became an active member of the Painters Union after the formation of this trade syndicate.

 

The Head of Tehran Bakers Union Resigned

Posted on: June 9th, 2011

HRANA News Agency –While turmoil continues to plague the capital city’s bakery market, the head of Tehran Bakers Union has resigned in protest to the government’s broken promises.Meanwhile, some officials continue to ignore their responsibility to fulfill such pledges.

According to a report by Ayande News, although six months has passed since subsidies were removed, the price of bread has increased twice.In comparison to the initial value of flour and bread, the price of wheat flour has increased by fifty percent, and the price of bread has doubled, tripled or even quadrupled in some cases.

The Iranian government had previously promised to compensate bakers for the increase in the cost of gas and electricity which are heavily consumed by this industry.However, since no action has been taken so far, Hossein Nazari, the head of Tehran’s Bakers Union, has tendered his resignation.

On the other hand, since the quality of flour delivered to Tehran’s bakeries has drastically gone down, people refuse to buy the bread.To address this problem and in search of attracting more customers, bakers in Tehran have begun using the flour allotted for other counties.As a result, although the official price of flour in Tehran is approximately $14.25 per sack, some of the bakers are buying higher quality flour at about $17.00 per bag.

All this is happening while the regulatory body monitoring bakeries which operates under the gubernatorial control is facing legal hurdles.The Administrative Court has ordered this regulatory body to report to the Governmental Discretionary Punishments Organization, but provinces refuse to comply with the order.

Furthermore, the government’s failure to address the low quality of bread has created serious problems for bakers and consumers in Tehran such that in search of higher quality product, the owners of some flour plants have attempted to import flour from Australia.

Experts from the outset had emphasized the necessity for controlling the price of bread and had offered suggestions such as the transformation of the system for the procurement, storage and milling of flour and also the ranking of bread according to the quality of the flour used in the baking process.Since the government opposed any and all solutions and insisted on imposing one single price for any type of bread, a large number of bakeries are currently facing big losses while others don’t have enough customers or are struggling with the low quality of the flour shipped to them.To be able to sell bread at a different price, some bakeries have resorted to so called illegal means by adding sesame seeds to the bread available for purchase.

 

Brick Factory Workers’ Strike Continues in Bukan

Posted on: May 27th, 2011

HRANA News Agency – The news from Saroghamish regions in Bukan [West Azerbaijan Province] indicates that the workers of several brick factories continue their strike which began on May 21, 2011.

 

According to a report by Mukrian News Agency, brick factory workers have demanded a wage increase for each one thousand bricks they handle.  Workers pulling brick wheelbarrows are asking for an increase of $3.30 per one thousand bricks while workers who place the bricks in furnaces are asking for an increase of $0.94.

 

At the time when this report was being prepared, brick factory employers were not willing to accept the demand made by workers.  Meanwhile, brick factory workers have also announced that until their requests are met, they will continue their strike.

 

Textile Workers in Kashan Protested Again

Posted on: May 12th, 2011

HRANA News Agency – Workers of the Spinning and Weaving Textile Company in Kashan gathered in a rally to protest in front of gubernatorial building and demanded their weekly wages promised to them by their employer.  The Spinning and Weaving Textile Company had agreed to pay the workers $40 a week, the amount equal to 1/6 of a worker’s monthly wages.

 

A number of workers spoke with ILNA [Iranian Labour News Agency] in Kashan and said, “The Company owes us 32 months of back wages.  We used to get paid $80 a week, but our wages were cut down to only $40.00 per week.  Since the beginning of this year [March 21, 2011], they even don’t pay us that amount.  We haven’t received a penny from them.”

 

During their rally, workers asked the authorities to follow up and take the necessary steps to quickly pay them their back wages for the last 32 months and also resolve the problems and concerns related to the retirement of 400 workers in this company.

 

The protesters blocked the main street in front the gubernatorial building and carried a placard asking, “Who answers for 32 months of back wages?”  The rally disturbed the flow of traffic in this part of the city.

 

It must be noted that there are 1200 workers employed by the Spinning and Weaving Textile Company in Kashan.  However, from the beginning of this year [March 21, 2011], the Company has been shut down because of a strike by the workers demanding 32 months of back wages.

A Worker Dies in Kermanshah

Posted on: May 10th, 2011

 

 

 

HRANA News Agency – Faramarz Alizadeh who was a contract worker in Kermanshah’s flour factory died in hospital from injuries caused by the collapse of an elevator.

 

According to a report by Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), Faramarz Alizadeh, son of Abbas, was married with five children and lived in Kandoleh Javanrud, [a city in Kermanshah Province].  Two week ago, he was severely injured after the collapse of an elevator from the third floor at the flour factory where he worked.

 

Faramarz Alizadeh was transferred to Kermanshah’s Taleghani Hospital and died there on the evening of May 8, 2011 due to the extent of his injuries.  He was not covered by any health insurance plans because he had a temporary work contract.

 

The death of this worker occurs while health care providers at the hospital were negligent and failed to provide the proper care for Faramarz Alizaadeh simply because he had no health insurance and unable to pay for the expenses himself.

 

Located at Vakil Agha region in Kermanshah, the flour factory has many workers hired under temporary contracts.

 

 

 

 

Teachers’ Union of Kurdistan Threatened; Twelve Teachers Summoned

Posted on: May 3rd, 2011

 HRANA News Agency – Agents working for Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence are placing undue pressure on teachers summoned by the agency to repudiate the statement released by Teachers’ Union of Kurdistan for May 9th.  In this statement, the union has named the day Farzad Kamangar was executed a day to reject violence and defend the right to live.

 

According to a report by Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), in recent days, Bahaldyn Maleki, Ramin Zandnia, Ali Qarishi, Mokhtar Asadi, Peyman Navidian, Heydar Zaman, Reza Khatami, Kamal Fakorian, Mostafa Sarbazan, Mohammad Sadiq Sadeqi, Hiva Ahmadi and Ezatollah Nosrati were summoned to the Intelligence Agency in Kurdistan Province.  The aforementioned individuals were questioned and threatened by the interrogators who had traveled from Tehran to Sanandaj [Kurdistan Province, Iran], and demands were made to rescind the union’s statement.

 

However, union members have so far insisted on their call to observe May 9th, the anniversary of Farzad Kamangar and four other individuals’ execution.  According to this report, intelligence forces have focused on pressuring Peyman Navidian and Mokhtar Asadi the most because they are union activists with prior convictions.  Peyman Navidian was exiled for nearly three years to Zanjan Province and was not allowed to work for several months.  Similarly, Mokhtar Asadi was in exile for 2 years and banned from work for 6 month.

 

In their statement, Teachers’ Union of Kurdistan has asked teachers all over Iran to light a candle on May 9th and reject organized violence.  By defending the right to live and teaching lessons of peace and human benevolence to their students, educators throughout Iran have been asked to commemorate Farzad Kamangar and his legacy as a fallen teacher

 

May 9th: A Day to Reject Violence and Defend the Right to Live

Posted on: April 28th, 2011

HRANA News Agency – Teachers’ Union of Kurdistan has issued a statement on the occasion of Teacher’s Week in Iran.In this statement, Teachers’ Union of Kurdistan recounts the problems facing the union and the weaknesses of our country’s education system and demands the release of its imprisoned members.To commemorate May 9th and the shocking execution of Farzad Kamangar, Teachers’ Union of Kurdistan has named May 9th to be a day to reject violence and defend the right to live.Farzad Kamangar was a union member and also a human rights activist who was executed by the Islamic Republic of Iran on May 9, 2010.  

The union also has requested teachers all over the country to light a candle on May 9th and teach their students lessons to reject violence and defend the right to live.The full text of this statement is as follows:

 

 

In the Name of God, Creator of Life and Wisdom

Blessed Be Teacher’s Day

  

It was exactly this time.We were all energized, bustling around with our hearts full of joy because our day was approaching.With the words “Teacher’s Day” on our lips, we wrote a statement and gathered at Abidar1 to recount many years of pain.Long ago, Samad Behrangi wrote about the same pain while delving and probing into educational issues, and now that more than thirty years has passed after the revolution, we still struggle with the same set of problems.

 

They said that it was Teacher’s Week!?They held meetings and made much ado about nothing while getting on their soapboxes, blowing hot air and complimenting each other for making a difference in these youngsters’ lives.We stared and only watched; they didn’t allow us to say anything, but we thought how long they could keep up with all the prayer and praise.We were all worried about Rasoul’s children who were awaiting his return.What exactly had Rasoul Bodaghi and Hashem Khastar said?

  

At the foot of the mountain, we talked and said all there was to say without endangering senior management’s careers in the education system or threatening their bottom line.Far from the senior managers’ advice on the virtues of silence and away from the prying eyes of Herasat’s2 closed circuit cameras, we talked for hours about our pupils’ pain in the classroom.Without endangering national security, we talked about child labor.

  

We were happy since Farzad’s attorney had informed us that he was to return to us, and the villages of Kamyaran [Kurdistan Province, Iran] could embrace him.Repeatedly we mentioned Teacher’s Day while they proudly rubbed Teacher’s Week in our faces.It was exactly Teacher’s Week, and in front of our bewildered gazes, they took him away from us at dawn, and no one saw him again.Now, at night, he twinkles in Kurdistan’s grief-stricken sky.

  

Esteemed Educators

The year that we have put behind us was a year full of events and changes in Iran and the Middle East.It has been years that neo-conservatives have imposed their policies on people all around the world.The outcome of these policies has been privatization, unemployment, cancellation of subsidies, layoff of workers under the pretence of workforce adjustments, warmongering and militarism, weakening and dissolution of trade unions, reduction of education budgets, decreasing health insurance and social benefits, and in many countries, an increase in retirement age under the excuse of government cost-saving ideas.

  

The blatant attack on people’s basic rights in the Middle East became further apparent through the violence displayed by the police, security forces, and military governments.Threatening political rights became the means by which such countries utilized in order to impose this economic disaster on people.Nonetheless, declaring long periods of time as the state of emergency and the rule of terror didn’t deter the masses from trying to change the situation.As we have witnessed, a hung tsunami of change has washed over the Middle East and North Africa in the name of pursuing happiness and democratic rights.By making numerous sacrifices, those seeking freedom are achieving new victories every day, and dictatorships are vanishing each day.

  

Along with the spirit of twenty-first century human beings in quest of freedom, the members of Education International have not remained silent.The global federation of teachers’ trade unions has jumped into action to fight against new worldwide policies through which education is overshadowed by profit margins, and quality is sacrificed for the sake of quantity.This year, the World Congress of Education International will meet in South Africa in order to address the same issues.Obviously, the representatives of teachers’ unions throughout Iran will attend the World Congress, and with one voice together with all other teachers of the world, we will defend our democratic rights and also the right to education.

  

By placing profit at top of their agenda, recent governments in Iran have also imposed undue burden on the working class.The elimination of subsidies has made this policy apparent.In Iran, the right to form unions is not recognized.In other words, the majority of the society has been denied its legitimate right to negotiate and bargain with the government that plays the role of a major employer.Social insurances don’t have sufficient resources through which effective services can be offered to the community.Unemployment insurance hasn’t been designated for people over eighteen, and the nightmare of white signed contracts3 have become an integral and inseparable part of people’s daily lives.

  

Unfortunately, the implementation of removing subsidies has not accounted for any of these issues.Considering that minimum wage is not significantly different from last year, soaring prices and repeated sanctions imposed by the Security Council have driven a greater percentage of Iranian families below the poverty line.This means that a large number of school age children leave their classrooms behind as they head to the job market in search of work.Meanwhile, deviance and criminal behavior is on the rise.

  

Education in Iran

The atrocious story of education in Iran is a long, tragic tale piled up in the hearts of teachers throughout this land from Balochistan to Gilan, from Azerbaijan to Kurdistan, from Turkmen Sahra to Khuzestan, from Lorestan to Kermanshah, and from Ilam to Hormozgan.In the remotest corners of Iran, the sad story of education and forsaken enlightenment and intellectualism is a tale of deprived children, broken-down school buildings, substandard school books, archaic teaching methods, and under-appreciated, forgotten hardworking teachers, the same teachers who reflect the misery of their deprived pupils, the same teachers who despite poverty still lovingly keep the candle of knowledge burning in stormy nights.

  

Enduring imprisonment, exile, deportation and even flogging has become the reward for safeguarding thoughts and the praise for intellectuals.Governments come and go, and ministers hand over their responsibilities to their successors.Sometimes, they talk about changes and transforming structures, books and creating new positions or eliminating the old ones.However, it has been long since nothing substantial or worth remembering has occurred.After this useless period, we return again to the same old education system while no one is held responsible for wasting so many resources and so much energy.More importantly, no one is held accountable for the game played with a generation trapped in an education system that uses them as laboratory rats.

  

We believe that the problem is not only blocking teacher involvement but also is related to the decision making process which ignores teachers, the most important element in education.It must be acknowledged that creativity and vitality is nurtured in a democratic environment and in an atmosphere of respect for the dignity and basic rights of teachers.

  

When Mr. Haj Babaei was appointed as the education minister, teachers’ trade unions were delighted since after a long time, someone with positive tendencies and inclinations was chosen.During his term in the Parliament, Mr. Haj Babaei was willing to meet with the representatives of trade unions while ignoring government red tape and restrictions.Unfortunately, teachers were disappointed very soon as the process to eliminate critics sped up, and the pressure on trade unions increased.Meanwhile, there remains no place for teachers in the colossal ministry of education, and there are apparently no plans to transform the disappointing environment dominating over our schools into an atmosphere of informed, mutual participation and service.

  

Is it possible to envision a fundamental change in the quality of education without democratizing the education system?School curriculums change, and new school hours are implemented without the input of main players namely teachers.In the twenty-first century, teachers are treated as if they are subjects receiving sacred and holy commands from the above and are given orders that are binding and may not be questioned.As a result of a policy that considers “master’s word to be God’s word,” human energy is wasted, teachers are discouraged, and the education system is stagnant.Additionally, teachers witness the ineffectiveness of the education system every day but have no means by which they can inform the public or concerned parents.However, we feel a sense of responsibility to communicate the ongoing, pending disaster to our students’ parents in any which way possible.

  

Dear Colleagues

Congratulating Teacher’s Day to all of our colleagues throughout Iran and wishing them success in their work, Teachers’ Union of Kurdistan declares the following items to be their main demands:

  

1. We demand the immediate and unconditional release of our jailed colleagues, Rasoul Bodaghi, Hashem Khastar and Nabiollah Bastan and call for the dismissal of all pending cases against union activists in different courts.

  

2. We demand removing the ban on the publication Qalam Moalem [Teacher’s Pen] which is Iran’s only independent journal of educators.

  

3. As you are aware, May 9th is the anniversary on which Farzad Kamangar, a board member of Teachers’ Union of Kurdistan, lost his life.While honoring the humanitarian efforts of this noble and revered educator and with the slogan of “rejecting organized violence and defending the right to live,” Teachers’ Union of Kurdistan asks all educators to light a candle in their classrooms to commemorate this day.We request all teachers to designate their lectures on May 9th to be a lesson on rejecting violence in any shape or form.We shall teach the children that human beings regardless of their ethnicity, religion, language and social class are equal.We shall rise up to fight materialism and warmongering and consider seeking peace to be the highest human virtue.We shall replace animosity and hostility amongst nations with love and alliance.

  

At the end, Teachers’ Union of Kurdistan congratulates the International Workers’ Day, May 1st, to all workers and declares the union’s support for their demands.

  

Teachers’ Union of Kurdistan

Ordibehesht 1390 [April – May 2011]

 

Footnotes for the English Translation:

1.Abidar, a mountain east of Sanandaj, is a major recreational area in Iran’s Kurdistan Province.

2. Herasat is Iran’s semi-secret police tasked to monitor all educational institutes throughout the country.

3. “White signed contracts” are in effect white papers that workers in Iran sign allowing employers to determine all the terms of employment.

Five Engineers of Jam Petrochemical Complex in Assaluyeh Arrested

Posted on: April 24th, 2011

HRANA News Agency – Five engineers who were working for Jam Petrochemical Complex in Assaluyeh [Southern Iran, Bushehr Province] have been arrested by Iranian security officers.

According to a report by Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), the arrests took place at the beginning of the current Persian month of Farvardin [March 21- April 20, 2011].  The reason for the arrest and the whereabouts of five engineers are unknown.

Jam Petrochemical Complex is located at the Pars Special Economic Energy Zone and produces 1,321,000 tons of ethylene annually.  This petrochemical company also manufactures olefin, high density polyethylene, linear low density polyethylene, polypropylene, ethylene glycol / ethylene oxide, and butadiene.

[Following Ahmadinejad’s victory in 2005 presidential election, the 9th government of Iran after the revolution was established.]  Since the designation of Assaluyeh as a free trade zone by Mohammad Jahromi, Iran’s labor minister in the ninth government, workers and laborers in this region have been denied minimum protection under labor laws and social security benefits.  Instead, the entire workforce in the free trade zone is only subject to employers’ rules and regulations.

Earlier, the closure of manufacturing units and industrial crisis in Assaluyeh resulted in the dismissal of 52,000 workers in this region.