The ITF is backing a campaign by a fellow global union federation to clear five union leaders in Iran who were arrested for standing up for workers’ rights. A verdict is due to be delivered next week.The trade unionists, representing thousands of sugar cane workers at the Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane Plantation and Industry Company in Shush were summoned to appear before the Islamic Revolutionary Court in Defzul on 20 December last year. The leaders of the Union of Workers of the Haft Tapeh Sugar Plantation – Ali Nejati, Feridoun Nikoufard, Mohammed Heydari Mehr, Ghorban Alipour, Jalil Ahmadi – were arrested and charged in connection with actions taken by workers in 2007 over unpaid wages and in defence of basic workplace rights. The court verdict is expected to be delivered on 17 February.The union is a member of the global union federation, the International Union of Food (IUF), and the International Trade Union Confederation, both of which are lobbying for a “not guilty” verdict. The ITF is supporting the campaign and backing the emergence of an independent workers’ movement in Iran, of which the ITF-affiliated Tehran Bus Workers’ Union is a part; the leaders of the union, Mansour Osanloo and and Ebrahim Madadi, remain in detention.ITF Inland Transport Section Secretary, Mac Urata, commented: “The ITF is fully behind the IUF and the sugar cane plantation trade unionists. These arrests clearly show that an independent workers' movement is growing in Iran, which is why the authorities are taking measures to crackdown on trade unionists. Our colleagues from the Tehran Bus Union are not an isolated case."