Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Iranian Trade Unionist Free

The International Transport Workers' Federation today welcomed the release of detained Iranian trade unionist Mansour Osanloo, while deploring the fact that he had to post additional bail to ensure his release. Osanloo was already on bail of 150 million Toman (US$ 165,000), stemming from his previous detention by the authorities from 22 December 2005 to 9 August 2006.

Osanloo, who is President of the ITF‑affiliated Trade Union of Workers of the Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company ("Vahed Union"), was arrested on November 19th, only months after being released on bail following a long campaign of intimidation by Iranian police and state security agents that has seen him and colleagues brutally arrested and meetings violently broken up. His release followed public protests by Vahed Union members.

The Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company (Sherkat-e Vahed) was formed in 1968 but was disbanded by the authorities in the early 1980s. Instead, a Workers’ House and Islamic Labour Council were formed by the government and the company. In 2003, activists began to re-establish their independent union but faced serious repression, including a massive roundup in early January 2006 that resulted in the arrests of approximately 1300 members of the union.

To read a year-long chronology of the struggle of and repression against the Vahed Bus Union, please click here.