Workers' protests, coupled with other popular acts of protest, escalated this year. The Iranian Resistance recorded at least 42 labor protests. No less than 23 were major protests, among them the strike by 10,000 workers at the Melli Shoe Industrial Group. The protest began in mid January and ended after nearly two months only when the Intelligence Ministry agents launched sudden raids during the night on the homes of many workers for being "the ring leaders" of the strike.
This year, the International Labor Organization put the mullahs' regime on its black list, announcing that Iran is among countries which have violated international conventions related to workers and labor rights. Also, in its international congress in Bangkok, the World Confederation of Labor (WCL) adopted a resolution on December 14, 1997, strongly condemning the escalation of human rights abuses, suppression of protests, arrests, torture, killings of workers and serious violations of labor laws and relevant conventions of the International Labor Organization.
Mr. Rajavi pointed to the abysmal state of the Iranian economy and the 40% rise in the prices of food stuffs in mid-April. He said: Many Iranian factories are working with 40% of their production capacity. Destruction of the country's industry has paved the way for the rise of unemployment, and drastic fall in the purchasing power and earning levels of workers and toilers in Iran. A realistic figure on unemployment is close to 47%. The regime's officials acknowledge that 1,160,000 people join the work force every year, but 80% of them cannot find jobs.
Mr. Rajavi concluded his message by reviewing the outline of the programs of the National Council of Resistance to restore the rights of Iranian workers and toilers, adding: The mullahs' corrupt, repressive and terrorist regime is rapidly running out of time. Meanwhile, the NLA combatants are preparing full force for the final showdown.
Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
April 30, 1998