International Labour Day Resolution
May Day 2004 in Iran
This year we celebrate May Day at a time when world capitalism is in a deeper crisis than ever before. The period of capitalist boom is now over, and crisis-ridden capital is afflicted by a permanent crisis. To keep up the production of surplus value, capital is more than ever attacking its main pillar and base, that is, labour power. It pushes down the workers' standard of living and sacks them in droves. The yoke of reformism bearing down on the workers' movement, and the absence of anti-capitalist organisations, also ease the way for the capital's attack on the labour camp.
But in Iran the situation is much more deplorable and tragic. By using various levers, including a reactionary superstructure for implementing the lack of rights on workers, capitalism is holding down wages and making widespread redundancies, thus putting extra pressure on workers. Because of the low wages and the low standard of living, workers have to do overtime and in many cases take on a second or third job. At the same time, in response to demands for job security, the capitalists attack the workers relentlessly, the most striking example of which is the bloody tragedy of the workers in Khatoonabad near Babak town.
Considering the current situation in Iran, we have adopted "National struggle against sackings and redundancies" as our central slogan for this year's May Day. This is the most important issue for workers' lives and standard of living. We believe that the slaughter in Khatoonabad was not the first, and will not be the last, attack of the agents of capital on our class brothers and sisters. At the same time, we workers have realised that resistance against capital's attacks is only possible under the protection of nationwide organisation and an anti-capitalist workers' movement. We believe that it is the lack of the necessary organisation that allows capital to deal continually and relentlessly brutal blows on the working class. We also believe that we have the commitment and discipline to be able to place ourselves on the front-line of the struggle for the daily demands of workers. We believe that the final liberation of the working class from these dark days of the curse that the capitalist system has made the working class endure, depends on the struggle to abolish waged labour.
Considering the above points we workers declare that our demands are as follows:
1- May Day, as International Labour Day, must be officially recognised as a public holiday in the country's calendar and workers and their families must be able to celebrate this day according to international traditions without the need for permission, without police controls or harassment.
2- On 24 January 2004 the supporters of capital shot the workers of the copper mines of Khatoonabad [a village near Babak town] simply for demanding work and protesting against sackings. At the same time as condemning this killing, we defend the workers' just right to demand permanent employment with job security. We protest against this slaughter and demand a public trial of the perpetrators of this crime. We call on workers to commemorate the martyred workers of Babak town by stopping work for five minutes at 10 am on 24 January of every year.
3- During the past year two workers on the assembly line of the Iran Khodro car plant, Peyman Razi Loo and Omid Oladi, died due to the intensity of work and compulsory overtime. The death of these workers is a crime by the agents of capital in this company. We condemn such crimes and call on workers to protest against the intensity of labour and compulsory overtime.
4- The crisis of capitalism has reached one of its critical points. State-owned factories are one by one sold off to the private sector and scores of workers are sacked under the guise of employment severance. This has become a home-wrecking measure that destroys workers' lives. We call on workers not to be taken in by the schemes that are passed off as bonuses and with united resistance demand permanent jobs and job security.
5- We workers demand the immediate repealing of all existing anti-worker laws and regulations, including temporary contracts, the law of sacking using the excuse of "restructuring industry", and excluding workshops with less than ten workers from the provisions of the Labour Code and social provisions.
6- We workers believe that many of the anti-worker measures are based on the current Labour Code. The Labour Code must be determined and written by the forces of workers' organisations and workers' elected representatives.
7- In the absence of independent workers' organisations wages are not set on the basis of the existing realities of human life. We demand that wages are based on having an honourable and human life.
8- Workers' unpaid wages must be paid immediately and in full, together with compensation.
9- We workers demand a cut in the working day to allow for two consecutive days of leisure time in a week and the inclusion of unsuitable hours as part of the working day. Cutting the length of the working day will also result in unemployed workers returning to work.
10- Unemployment insurance is one of the gains of the previous struggles of workers internationally. We demand a response which takes into consideration the human character of the unemployed. Adequate and suitable unemployment insurance, in keeping with the standard of human living, must be provided for all unemployed people until the time when appropriate work has been found by the government.
11- Unemployed workers are totally without any rights. Many of them face the devastation of their families: many times we have witnessed the killing of children by unemployed workers; many times we have witnessed the prostitution of the wives and daughters of unemployed workers. When without any work, workers are open to various abuses. They need the support of their fellow class brothers and sisters. We call on employed workers to support their unemployed workmates. We demand the banning of all sackings and the immediate return of unemployed workers to their jobs. We also call on unemployed workers to set up an "unemployed workers' organisation".
12- Retired workers have a very tough and pitiful standard of living. The life of retired workers is in no way in character with human life today. We demand that retired workers and their families be well provided for. Retired workers and their families should not be forced to start work again, after a whole lifetime of work, because of their low standard of living.
13- All citizens of society, whether Iranian of non-Iranian, employed or unemployed, must be provided with free medical insurance.
14- Children are employed in dim and underground and roadside workshops as the cheapest workers. They are traded like slaves and subjected to physical and sexual harm and injury. They are one of the most common goods that criminal gangs deal in.
15- In comparison with men, women workers have fewer rights, benefits and job opportunities. We demand an end to the discrimination against women and their having equal wages and benefits for equal work done by men. We also demand that sexual apartheid be repealed and women be given total legal equality with men in all aspects of social life. Being a woman, wife or mother should not be an obstacle to employment or women's promotion opportunities. Women's work conditions must allow them the chance to combine work outside the home with the responsibility of looking after their children. We demand laws that protect jobs, job security and job prospects for women in the work environment.
16- The recent united struggles of the teachers had an extensive and novel form. We support their just demands. We believe that the teachers can only achieve their demands by creating a national independent organisation.
17- Workers throughout the world have the right to work and live without any racial discrimination or domination or any nationalistic fervour. We demand the provision of political, cultural, social and economic rights for immigrant workers throughout the world.
18- We workers demand the right to set up workers' organisations, the right to strike, the right of assembly, the right to demonstrate, the unconditional freedom of thought, expression and the press, and the release of all political prisoners.
19- Workers' general assemblies must be set up in all production and service workplaces during working hours and within the workplace.
20- We call on our fellow workers in factories that, due to the managers' excuse of restructuring and effectiveness, have been brought to crisis and bankruptcy, and have caused the unemployment of a vast number of our class brother and sisters, to promptly implement workers' control in these factories as one of the methods of struggle.
21- We workers need an organisation that can guarantee our interests in the struggle against capitalism. We demand the creation of independent anti-capitalist organisations. Under the present conditions the cell of such an organisation can be created through the organisation of cells of independent anti-capitalist councils. These cells can provide the objective basis for an anti-capitalist organisation.
22- War, which includes phenomena like terror, massacres and carnage, is the tool of world capitalism for the re-division of the world and one of the levers of powerful governments against oppressed people. The recent wars by America against the people of Afghanistan and Iraq are crimes against humanity perpetrated by America and its allies. We the workers, at the same time as sympathising with the Afghan and Iraqi nations, condemn the recent wars in the region.
23- The struggle of the working class against capitalism is an international struggle. We workers, at the same time as supporting the struggles of the workers in other countries, call on workers of the world to create a workers' international.
Workers' council for celebrating May Day
(Tehran, Rasht, Saghez, Bookan, Marivan and Baneh)
1 May 2004
Translated by Iranian Workers' Solidarity Network
Iranian Workers' Solidarity Network
London WC1N 3XX