Open letter to international trade unions and
Iran, Sanandaj: factory put under siege as strike by hundreds of textile workers enters its fourth day
November 3, 2004
I am writing to let you know that the Kurdistan Textile factory in the city of Sanandaj, Iran, where hundreds of workers are on a sit-in strike, has come under siege by armed security forces, who have surrounded the factory and cut off all links with the outside. Anxious relatives and crowds have gathered outside the factory gates demanding access to those inside and the lifting of the siege.
The sit-in, which started on Sunday 31st October initially as a hunger strike by 75 workers, has since been joined by hundreds of others from all sections of the plant. The workers of two other textile plants in the city (Shaho and Shinbaf), as well as the bakery workers union and various sections of people, have declared their support for the strike. Five workers who needed medical attention yesterday due to the effects of the hunger strike, have now been released from hospital. To avoid further harm to the health of those involved in the protest, the workers have decided to call off their hunger strike. A special fund has also been set up to raise urgently needed funds.
The striking workers have appealed to international trade unions for support.
The sit-in is in protest against the mass redundancy plans announced by the management. The workers are calling for the withdrawal of the redundancy threat or a fair redundancy settlement.
Your support has been instrumental on many occasions in preventing persecution of workers in Iran for exercising their basic rights to assembly, strike, and collective bargaining. The worldwide outrage expressed at the arrest of workers in the city of Saghez for celebrating May Day and the continued international pressures have forced the Islamic regime in Iran to all but abandon its attempts to put those workers on trial. Your solidarity is once again needed to stop the current assault on the rights, livelihood and safety of workers engaged in a legitimate dispute with the management over jobs. Your support is urgently needed to put an end to this flagrant intimidation of workers by the military, for the immediate lifting of the siege and the withdrawal of the security forces from the factory premises.
We will keep you informed of any further developments as we receive them. Please do not hesitate to contact me should you require any further information in this regard.
Yours in solidarity,
Secretary, Worker-communist Party of Iran