Home iran May Day: Calls Grow For Release Of Iranian Labor Activists And Workers

May Day: Calls Grow For Release Of Iranian Labor Activists And Workers


The Iranian Writers’ Association (IWA) has called for the unconditional release of all imprisoned workers and labor activists on the eve of International Workers’ Day, May 1st.

The statement released Tuesday noted that over 1,600 strikes and protests occurred last year, emphasizing that “such a large number of demonstrations shows both the extent of the looting of the labor force and the rampage by those in power.”

IWA expressed concern that “bread, housing, meat, clothing, and fruit are not the only things that are disappearing from people’s tables and becoming a dream of their minds, but their culture is disappearing as well, including education, books, cinema, theater, and music… Every day is Workers’ Day in Iran,” the statement read.

International Workers’ Day commemorates the concerted protests of American workers on May 1, 1886, when they called for a nationwide strike for the first time, demanding an eight-hour workday instead of a fourteen-hour workday.

Many countries worldwide observe this day by holding street demonstrations organized by trade unions.

In Iran, unlike many countries, May 1st is not an official holiday.

Even though Iran’s constitution appears to allow the formation of independent trade union organizations of workers, the Labor Law lists specific organizations that workers may only join, like the Islamic Labor Council. In essence, it has denied workers the right to form independent and free unions.

Nevertheless, several calls were made on Tuesday for nationwide strikes and protests, including from student organizations, women’s groups, and youth groups under the collective name of “the national network women’s revolution, life, freedom.”

In this appeal, the general public was asked to participate in a strike on May 1 in protest of “the death sentence of dissident rapper Toomaj Salehi, the new hijab and chastity plan, and the poverty and misery that has been imposed on society.”

Majid Mohammadi, a sociologist and political analyst, described these calls as “a low-cost way to protest” in an interview with Iran International.

According to him, the wider the strikes, “the slower the government blade will be.”

The latest strike in the country began two days ago when truck owners across Iran started a strike in protest of the reduction of fares and fuel quotas.

Iranian truck owners have engaged in similar strikes in recent years due to fuel shortages, rampant inflation, and the devaluation of the Iranian currency.

Iran has experienced no economic growth for more than a decade. In 2018, the US withdrew from the JCPOA nuclear deal, further aggravating the situation. During the past six years, Iran’s national currency, the rial, has fallen 15-fold, resulting in inflation and poverty for millions of Iranians.