2015 ITUC Global Rights Index Rating: 5


At least 65 workers were arrested for peaceful and legitimate actions from April 2014 to March 2015 and sentenced to heavy prison sentences and corporal punishment.

Freedom of assembly and speech:

Unions are not permitted to distribute newsletters at their workplace. The internet is fully controlled and social media is filtered by the government. Jamil Mohammadi and Jaffar Azimzadeh who collected 40,000 signatures for a petition were sentenced for 3 and 6 years imprisonment.

Mine workers arrested for strike action:

On 19 August 2014, nine mine workers were arrested for participating in a strike action in Bafgh Iron Ore Mine in Yazd against the privatisation of the company, which was going to have an impact on the working conditions of the miners. The strike ended with a violent intervention by riot police and the arrest and detention of the nine workers. Over 5,000 miners have downed tools in support of the detained workers who were arrested for taking part in a 40-day strike at the mine in early 2014. Workers also demanded that 15 per cent of revenue from the mine should be invested in the Yazd region.

Kidnappings and arrests:

On 30 April 2014, authorities detained Messrs Jafar Azimzadeh and Jamil Mohammadi. On May Day Parvin Mohammadi and Shapour Ehsanirad were arrested. All four are officials of the Free Union of Iranian Workers. In 2013, they organised a mass petition protesting the worsening conditions of workers and were among unionists who tried to organise a May Day demonstration. Parvin Mohammadi and Shapour Ehsanirad were released, but the other two remain in ward 209 in Evin prison. A number of other unionists were summoned for interrogations and were warned not to go ahead with the May Day demonstrations in 2014 in a number of cities across the country including Kurdistan Province.

On May Day the authorities arrested 23 members of the Tehran bus workers' union the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company, including Ibrahim Madadi, before they were transferred to the notorious Evin Prison, where they were released a few hours after.

On 2 May arrests targeted several workers, trade unionists and labour activists as well as their families and associates who were attempting to assemble for a social gathering on the first weekend after 1 May.

Twelve other unionists and labour activists are currently in prison in Iran and many others are facing long-term prison sentences merely for exercising their fundamental right to associate and to organise.

Behnam Ebrahimzadeh of the Committee to Pursue the Establishment of Labour Unions (CPELU) and a child rights activist is serving five years in prison.

At least three members of the Coordinating Committee to Help Form Workers' Organisations (CCHFWO), Messrs Yousef Ab-Kharabat, Mohammad Molanaei and Vahed Seyedeh, are serving prison terms in the Kurdistan province of Iran. Other members of the CCHFWO have been sentenced to prison terms from one to three and a half years and are appealing their sentences. They include Messrs Vafa Ghaderi, Ghaleb Hosseini Khaled Hosseini, Mohammad Karimi, Jamal Minashiri, Ghassem Mostafapour, Afshin Nadimi and Hadi Tanoumand.

At least five members of the Teachers' Association of Iran (TAI) are now serving long-term prison sentences, namely Mahmood Bagheri (four and a half years), Rassoul Bodaghi (six years), Mohammad Davari (six years) and Mehdi Farahi-Shandiz (3 years). Another member of the TAI, Abdolreza Ghabari, is serving a 15-year sentence after his death sentence for contacts with opposition groups abroad was commuted. Other leading TAI members, Messrs Ali-Akbar Baghani, Mahmoud Beheshti-Langaroudi, and Alireza Hashemi, have been sentenced to long-term imprisonment, which they have appealed.

The ITUC Global Rights Index Ratings:

1 // Irregular violation of rights
Collective labour rights are generally guaranteed. Workers can freely associate and defend their rights collectively with the government and/or companies and can improve their working conditions through collective bargaining. Violations against workers are not absent but do not occur on a regular basis.

2 // Repeated violation of rights
Countries with a rating of 2 have slightly weaker collective labour rights than those with the rating 1. Certain rights have come under repeated attacks by governments and/or companies and have undermined the struggle for better working conditions.

3 // Regular violation of rights
Governments and/or companies are regularly interfering in collective labour rights or are failing to fully guarantee important aspects of these rights. There are deficiencies in laws and/or certain practices which make frequent violations possible.

4 // Systematic violation of rights
Workers in countries with the rating 4 have reported systematic violations. The government and/or companies are engaged in serious efforts to crush the collective voice of workers putting fundamental rights under threat.

5 // No guarantee of rights
Countries with the rating of 5 are the worst countries in the world to work in. While the legislation may spell out certain rights workers have effectively no access to these rights and are therefore exposed to autocratic regimes and unfair labour practices.

5+ // No guarantee of rights due to the breakdown of the rule of law
Workers in countries with the rating 5+ have equally limited rights as countries with the rating 5. However, in countries with the rating 5+ this is linked to dysfunctional institutions as a result of internal conflict and/or military occupation. In such cases, the country is assigned the rating of 5+ by default.

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