Iran: unrelenting oppression and robbery of workers under mullahs' rule

The brutal oppression and robbery of workers by the clerical regime is intensifying day by day. Their purchasing power is decreasing, their tables are emptying and more and more are joining the ranks of the unemployed. At the same time, the official and unofficial budget of the repressive, warmongering and terrorist machinery of this regime, in particular of the Pasdaran, is increasing all the time. Despite the false and abject propaganda of the regime's president, Ebrahim Raissi, about supporting the workers, their oppression has never been as cruel as it is now. 

According to Seyyed Solat Mortezavi, the Labour Minister of the regime, the minimum wage in 1402 (20 March 2022-20 March 2023), after much negotiation, will only increase by 27% and "will rise from 4,179,000 tomans to 5,308,330 tomans" (IRNA Agency, 20 March 2023). 

However, the Iranian statistics centre announced inflation of "more than 50%" and "in February 2022, the point inflation of households was 53.4%" (Arman Daily, 1 March 2022). The same centre announced in its latest report that "housing inflation in January this year increased by 66% compared to the same period last year". (Mardom Salari, 1 March 2023). At the Tehran City Council meeting, "a 40% increase in bus fares was unanimously approved" (SNN Agency, 14 March 2023). 

According to official media  

  • "Prices of all products have increased by at least 70-100%" (Ebtekar, 1 March 2023). 
  • In no historical period has such food hyperinflation been recorded, not even during the occupation of the country during World War II. However, the food inflation rate exceeded 71% in February" (Mardom Salari, 1 March 2023). 
  • "Analysis of the prices of 11 selected products shows that they have increased 12 times on average from 2018 to March this year. While the minimum wage has only increased about six times since 2018." (Ressalat of 6 March 2023). 
  • "From 2018 to September 2022, housing prices in Tehran increased by 750%." (Eskanas Newspaper of 1 March 2023). 
  • "A worker has to pay on average more than eight million and 883 thousand tomans a month to rent a 70-square-meter flat in Tehran" (Sharq Newspaper, March 2, 2023). 
  • "The cost of the workers' subsistence basket has now risen to more than 17,840,000 tomans". (Javan Daily, 16 March 2023). 

Thus, according to official figures, the increase in workers' wages if they are employed is 25-45% lower than the inflation rate. At the same time, according to Article 41 (1) and (2) of the regime's own Labour Law, the minimum wage must be "in line with the rate of inflation" and "sufficient to support a family whose average number is announced by the official authorities". 

Of course, this meagre wage is not paid to workers. "Thousands of workers in all parts of the country are waiting for 3 months, 7 months and 15 months back wages. In addition, thousands of workers, under the shadow of temporary, precarious and unprotected contracts, do their work in the morning with the fear of being unemployed the next day, and accidents at work continue to claim victims due to the insecurity of the working environment" (Etemad newspaper, 1 May 2022). 

Because the rulers of the regime and especially the Pashtun commanders have taken over the main economic and production institutions, they have annihilated trade union organisations, repress workers who dare to protest and eliminate workers' rights with cruelty and brutality.    

All the achievements of the International Labour Organisation and the standards of minimum workers' rights have been annulled by this regime: 

  • Iranian workers have no job security, they are between the two edges of a scissors, on one side a miserable wage and on the other dismissal. 
  • There are no laws to protect workers and in all legal disputes everything goes against them and in favour of the employer.  
  • Workers and their families have no health insurance and no pensions. 
  • In practice, workers have no right to form an independent, registered trade union or to have their own elected representative. Only Islamic workers' councils, formed by the regime, are allowed to exist. 
  • Non-payment of workers' wages has become the norm, and workers sometimes wait up to 15 months to receive their meagre wages. 
  • Work units are unsafe and, according to Ali Hossein Ra'iti, deputy Labour Minister, "about 800 workers die every year from work-related accidents in the country" (ISNA, 7 May 2022). Of course, many thousands of workers are also disabled.  

During 44 years of religious fascism, workers have become poorer every year and more unemployed than the year before. The only way to end this brutal and growing oppression is to overthrow this regime. This is the campaign for which various groups, including workers, protested in the streets of Iran during the national uprising of 2022/2023 with the slogans "down with Khamenei" and "down with the dictator".