Where trade union rights are concerned, the election of Hassan Rouhani as President of Iran has brought no changes. On October 15, the Executive Board of the IUF-affiliated Haft Tapeh Sugar Workers Union formally called on the new Labour Minister to act to ensure that two union officers – Ali Nejati and Reza Rakhshan – are reinstated at their jobs and that other union leaders who have returned to work (though not at their former positions) are compensated for back wages and benefits. Both Nejati and Rakhshan have been blacklisted after serving time in prison for their union activity and are unable to find regular employment anywhere in the area.
The union was founded in June 2008 following a 42-day strike. Since then, leaders and activists have repeatedly been jailed and harassed.
On August 31 Amnesty International called on then President-elect Rouhani to “turn over a new leaf in respect of human and trade union rights during his presidency.” Iran’s workers are still waiting.