After a delay of 1.5 months, Mohammad Shariatmadari, the Iranian regime’s Minister of Cooperatives, Labor and Social Welfare, announced on April 9, 2020, “After more than 40 hours negotiations on minimum wage, the Supreme Labor Council, increased the minimum wage by 21 percent compared to the previous year to about $260.00” (Tabnak website, April 9, 2020).
This minimum wage, given the rate of inflation, the poverty line, and the rate of unemployment in the country makes workers much poorer and significantly undermines their purchasing power.
1. According to paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 41 of the Labor Code, the minimum wage must be “in proportion to the rate of inflation” and “must be sufficient to provide for the living of a family, the average number of which is determined by the authorities.” This is while the inflation rate in Iran, according to official figures, is more than 40 percent, and, especially on essential items such as food, which forms the central part of the living expenses of the workers reach 100 percent.
“The Central Bank, which had frozen the release of inflation rate in the past year and a half based on a government decision, finally revealed this rate … The inflation rate in 2019, according to the Central Bank, was 41.2 percent, which is 6 percent higher than the one given by Iran’s Statistic Center of (34.8%),” Mashreq state-run daily, April 7, reported. On May 22, 2019, the website of the Statistic Center announced that the inflation rate was “52.1 percent in the preceding month.”
Thus, the increase in wages in the new Iranian year that began on March 20, is half to one-fifth of the inflation rate. Therefore, the purchasing power of workers receiving the minimum wage in the new Iranian year is much less than the last year.
2. The poverty line for a family in the cities is close to $1,200.00, and in Tehran, it is close to $2,400 (Rasoul Khezr, member of the Social Committee of the regime’s parliament, the Donyaye Eqtesad website, November 30, 2019). Thus, the minimum wage of workers in the new Iranian year is three to five times under the poverty line.
3. More than 90 percent of workers are contracted or temporary workers (Asr-e Iran website, May 2, 2019). These workers are not covered by the labor law, and this minimum wage does not apply to them. The wages of contracted and temporary workers do not even reach $239.00 per month.
4. In most cases, even this minimum wage is not paid to workers, and according to the media and regime officials, many workers have not been paid for three to 14 months. Receiving back pay is one of the most pressing demands of workers.
5. With the regime’s anti-labor policies, especially after the Coronavirus disaster, we now have millions of people unemployed, some of whom are forced to take up jobs as peddlers, taxi drivers, porters, and so on. Iran’s Statistic Center announced last year, “Nearly 3 million 200,000 people are absolutely unemployed.” That is, they have no income at all. This level of unemployment forces the workers to work for much lower wages.
As workers and toilers become poorer every day, the wealth of the Iranian people is increasingly accumulated in the hands of Khamenei and the Revolutionary Guards. As were revealed during the factional feuding, “Four institutions in Iran, namely the Headquarters To Execute Imam’s (Khomeini) Order, IRGC’s Khatam al-Anbiya Garrison, Astan-e Quds Razavi Foundation and the Mostazafan (Abased) Foundation, own a total of 60 percent of Iran’s national capital.” (Alef state-run website, September 21, 2019). In a letter to Khamenei on March 13, 2018, former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wrote that the foundations owned by Khamenei and the IRGC” hold $170,000 billion. People have no idea as to how it is used and how much revenue it generates. .”
The crimes of the clerical regime against workers and toilers are not limited to the minimum wage. Currently, as the number of Coronavirus victims in Iran surpasses 23,000 due to the criminal policies of the clerical regime, and more and more people are dying every day, Khamenei and Rouhani are trying to send the workers back to workshops and streets, and to the altar of Coronavirus.
The clerical regime will never respond to the demands of workers and pay their wages. The workers must stand up for their rights, and against this regime, and turn every city, neighborhood, factory, and workshop into a venue for revolt. This is the right of deprived workers and people to retake their plundered rights from Khamenei and the IRGC at any cost. One must rise up to take back his/her right.
National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) –
April 10, 2020