February 16, 2023

Iranian trade unions and civil organizations publish “charter of minimum demands”

February 16th, 2023 | Iran Unfiltered is a digest tracking Iranian politics & society by the National Iranian American Council 

Another important statement from Iran: Twenty Iranian trade unions called for a social, modern, and humane revolution against oppression, discrimination, exploitation, tyranny, and dictatorship. 20 independent trade unions and civil organizations in Iran compiled and published a “charter of minimum demands” inspired by the protests of the Iranian people. Notably, unlike some calls from outside Iran, they are not urging for anything from foreign countries like more sanctions or isolation for the Iranian people.

Trade unions and civil organizations that have organized large-scale trade union protests in Iran in recent years are signatories. The organizations that endorsed the charter include the Coordinating Council of Trade Union Organizations of Iranian Teachers, the Retiree Union, the Free Union of Iranian Workers, the Haft Tappeh Company Workers Union, the Union of Student Organizations of United Students, the Organizing Council of Protests of Oil Contract Workers, the Council of Free-Thinking School Students of Iran, and the Call of Iranian Women.

According to their statement: “After two great revolutions in Iranian contemporary history, progressive social movements are making progress – labor movements, teacher and retiree movements, movements for equal rights for women, students, and youth, and movements against execution.” They have played a decisive and historical role in shaping the country’s political, economic, and social structure from both a mass and a bottom-up perspective.

What are these unions’ demands?

These independent civil institutions have endorsed 12 “minimum” demands, including freedom of speech, free thought, free press, freedom of political parties and organizations, and unconditional release of all political prisoners. Also included are women’s and men’s equal rights, work safety, ensuring religious mandates are not included in laws, the end of environmental destruction, normalization of foreign relations, prohibition of child labor, provision of life and education, and the confiscation of assets of government, quasi-government, and private institutions they say have pillaged the people’s wealth.

The Iranian civil institutions have stated that “this charter aims to bring together and interconnect social movements and demands, as well as to end the current inhumane and destructive situation.” They urge people to “raise the flag of these minimal demands from factories to universities and schools and abroad.”

Iran’s security and judicial authorities have put pressure on these groups, arresting and summoning many of their activists in the past few years. Their statement is significant because these are groups inside Iran, challenging the dictatorship on the ground, who have organized many protests in recent years.

Back to top