By Hamideh Taati
Teachers in at least 31 cities across Iran took part in a nationwide strike on Sunday in protest to the Regime’s failure to respond to the teachers’ demands and the organisers indicate that the strike will last for three days.
The teachers, who are refusing to go to class and are staging sit-ins in the school offices are demanding:
• wages that meet inflation in Iran, as currently, teachers’ incomes are between two-thirds and three-quarters lower than the poverty line
• the cancellation of several government contracts with ineffective supplementary insurances that worsen the living conditions of Iran’s education workers
• additional funds allocated to the education sector in the budget coming into effect on March 21
• free education for all
• respect for the rights of minorities
• the release of several teachers’ rights activists jailed by the government for advocating for teachers’ rights
• the removal of all legal barriers to free guild and union activities
• the suspension of school monetary policies
Many students have joined their teachers in these strikes.
Among the cities that have already joined the strike are Babol, Isfahan, Tabriz, Karaj, Kermanshah, Qazvin, Sanandaj, Ardabil, Buin Zahra, Kurdistan, Najaf Abad, Sari, Shahreza, Qorveh, Takestan, Hamedan, Marivan, Yazd, Iranshahr, Mohammadiyeh, Muchesh, Tehran, Torbat-e Heydarieh, Ziviyeh, Jolfa, Mashhad, Urmia, Falavarjan, Shiraz, Nishapur , and Saqqez, but this list is ever-growing.
The Women’s Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran reporters that women are heavily involved in this strike, as they have been in previous teachers’ strikes and other protests across the country.
The Iranian Resistance wrote: “As the demonstrations and protests join and gain momentum in several sectors of the Iranian society, the regime is finding itself less and less capable of maintaining its hold on power and stifle the voice of justice.”
Over the past year, teachers, like many workers in Iran, have held dozens of rallies to demand their rights, where they have protested economic woes, government corruption and lack of political freedom.
In May, October and November, the teachers’ strike lasted several days, with many teachers and rights activists being arrested in November.
While in December, teachers and students held undeclared protests in Hamedan and Kermanshah, which drew plenty of media attention and sparked further protests in Yazd, Tabriz, and Isfahan.
Despite a heavy crackdown by the Regime, which included security forces attacking teachers with batons and pepper spray, teachers in Isfahan continued their demonstrations for several days.
Protests also grew across various cities in January and February.