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Iranian communists blast regime for jailing trade unionist for giving out biscuits

IRANIAN communists called for a united campaign today to end a dark chapter in the country’s history after the jailing of a trade unionist for “distributing biscuits” to workers on May Day.

Deputy chairman of the Syndica-e Vahed (Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Vahed Bus Company) Ebrahim Madadi lost his appeal against a five-year-and-three-month prison sentence handed down last month for engaging in peaceful trade union activism.

One of the activities that led to his conviction on charges of “assembly and collusion against national security” was the distribution of biscuits to bus drivers as part of May Day celebrations.

The sentencing court also referred to Mr Madadi negotiating with the Ministry of Labour in an attempt to raise the minimum wage for bus drivers.

Trade unions are seen as a threat to national security and Iranian authorities have escalated their attacks on those who are taking part in growing strike action across the country.

Last month, 17 lorry drivers received death sentences for their role in the national industrial action over pay and conditions as the clerical regime seeks to crush resistance and anti-government protests.

Tudeh Party international secretary Navid Shomali told the Star: “The court’s reaffirming of the five-year prison sentence issued to Ebrahim Madadi – and the pending confirmation of the same sentence for [Syndica-e Vahed director] Davoud Razavi – is the latest in a long line of flagrant examples of the Islamic Republic’s complete contempt for any notion of independent trade unions and their associated functions. 

“The court’s reference to Madadi’s handing out of biscuits to his colleagues while celebrating May 1 and Razavi having partaken in open and legitimate meetings, regarding the minimum wage for bus drivers, with a government ministry no less, gives a clear indication of the regime’s cruel resolve towards the labour and trade union movement in the country – and the lengths it is prepared to go to in crushing any hint of dissent there.”

He said the party stood “shoulder to shoulder” with the Iranian trade union movement and called on the government to respect the right to freedom of association enshrined in the country’s constitution adopted after the 1979 revolution.
 
“The party reaffirms that only through a coordinated and united campaign of all freedom-loving and progressive forces in Iran, enjoying the solidarity of their counterparts internationally, can we begin to move towards ending this dark chapter in our country’s history,” Mr Shomali said.

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