On May Day, Mr. Rajavi calls on Iranian workers to expand protests in Iran

In a message on the occasion of May Day, Mr. Massoud Rajavi, President of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, hailed Iranian workers. His message was broadcast by the Resistance's radio and television network nationwide.

Mr. Rajavi said: Last year, despite the clerical regime's brutal suppression, workers' protest actions continued across the country. The Resistance's network recorded some 38 worker strikes and protests. Demonstrations by more than 2,000 oil workers of Tehran's refinery in front of the Ministry of Oil that led to 300 arrests; the strikes by workers at Shiraz (south), Isfahan (center), Tabriz (northwest) and Tehran; the protests by workers at the match factory in Tabriz and the textile factory in Qa'emshahr (north); the protest gathering by the toiling workers of the municipality in Ardebil (northwest); the 17-day strike by 600 workers at Baresh textile factory in Isfahan; and the strike by nearly 900 workers at the tobacco factory in Isfahan to form workers' councils, etc., were among these protest actions, the NCR President said.

Mr. Rajavi said that while inflation in Iran was between 60 to 100%, the workers' minimum wage had been raised only 23%, causing a sharp decline in the purchasing power of the workers' families who live under the poverty line in extremely harsh conditions. He added: Iranian workers are denied their minimum rights. Neither are they insured against accidents, nor do they receive retirement and insurance benefits, nor do they have the right to organize and strike and nor is their occupational future guaranteed.

Instead, the NCR President said: Lay-offs and dismissals on various pretexts pose a major problem to the livelihood of workers and their families. Workers, particularly toiling women, have no choice but to tolerate all forms of insults and humiliation in fear of losing their jobs and meager wages. This, Mr. Rajavi, stated, is happening in a vast country whose people are living on an ocean of oil, gas and precious natural resources.

The NCR President noted: Last June, the regime was blacklisted, for violating international conventions on the right to work, for the second time during the International Labor Conference. This was due to the efforts by the Resistance's representatives at the conference who exposed and presented sufficient documents on the regime's atrocities against Iranian workers.

Mr. Rajavi called on the Iranian workers to follow the lead of other workers and join the ranks of the National Liberation Army of Iran. He further urged them to escalate their guild-related and political strikes, protests and their publicity activities in work settings to complement the war of liberation and to further support the Resistance.

Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran - Paris
May 1, 1997

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