Workers’ Minimal Demands on the Occasion of the Thirty First Anniversary of the February 1979 Revolution
Four independent workers organizations have issued a communique honoring the thirty first anniversary of the 1979 revolution in Iran. A translation is provided below:
Thirty-one years have passed since the February 1979 revolution. At that time millions of Iranian people, full of hope for a better life, took to the streets in order to break the yoke of despotism and repression. A nationwide strike lead by workers at the National Oil Company, the vanguard of the Iranian working class, shut down oil pipelines, ultimately tearing the despotic regime asunder. Masses of people chanted, “Our oil workers! Our resolute leader!” Power fell to the people.
February 11, 1979, a day that marks an end to despotism, is a day that calls forth unforgettable memories of men and women, young and old, who had grown tired of repression and injustice; people embraced one another in the streets, cried out with joy, and, with tears in their eyes, looked forward to a liberated future.
Now, thirty one years have passed since those glorious days full of enchantment and rebirth. Yet, today the feelings of hope, enchantment, and glory, has been transformed into nothing but misery, destitution, unemployment, sub-poverty wages, and subsidies cuts—unbearable agony for millions of workers and wage earners.
Life continues. And, the Iranian people still have a burning desire for change. They have not lost their hope for life, their yearning for happiness, freedom, dignity.
Born of democratic struggle, strikes, protests, and the campaign to establish independent organizations on its behalf, the working class has fought for its right to survive. Many of us now sit in jail for attempting to organize the working class and build a better life.
But these jail cells do not mark the end of the road. We millions are the producers of wealth, the wheels of production. Society moves only because we move it. We have at our back the historical experience of the united and grand strike of the oil workers during the February revolution. Relying on this experience and the power of our millions we inspire the best and most humanistic aspirations of the 1979 revolution. Today, after thirty-one years, we present our minimal demands and call for immediate and unconditional realization of all of them:
1. Unconditional recognition of independent workers organizations, the right to strikes, to organize protests, the freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, and freedom to associate with any political party.
2. An immediate stop to all executions, and the immediate and unconditional release of labor and other political activists from jail.
3. Immediate increase of the minimum wage based on workers input through their representatives in general workers assemblies.
4. End to Subsidies Rationalization Plan and delayed wages of workers should be immediately paid without any excuses.
5. Job security for workers and all wage earners, the end to all temporary contracts and blank signatures, removal of all government-run organizations in the work place, institution of new labor laws through direct participation of the workers in their general workers assemblies.
6. Halt to all firings under any circumstances. Anyone expelled or at employment age must benefit from social security in line with human dignity.
7. End of all discriminatory laws against women and insuring full and unconditional equality of women and men in all aspects of social, economic, political, cultural, and family affairs.
8. Insuring all the retired with a life of welfare, devoid of economic anxieties, putting an end to all discriminatory payment practices, and allowing everyone to benefit from social and medical services.
9. All children, irrespective of their parents’ economic and social status, gender, nationality, race, and religion, must be granted free and equal educational, welfare, and health care benefits.
10. May 1st must be declared a national holiday and included in the official calendar; all legal restrictions on its celebration must be removed.
Tehran and Municipality Bus Workers Syndicate
Haft Tapeh Sugar Refinery Workers Syndicate
Free Assembly of Iranian Workers
Kermanshah Electrical and Metal Workers Guild