A Report on the Precarious Working Conditions of 1500000 Iranian Builders
By Staff Writer
Due to the lack of employment and the overall stagnation of construction, the lives of many Iranian builders are falling apart.
According to ILNA (Iranian Labour News Agency) on 14th May 2018, the top two reasons for this issue are: the decline in construction demands, and, the employment of low-cost workers from other nationalities.
Besides their difficulty in affording daily expenses, construction workers are also struggling with their “insurance”; they are not being provided with an appropriate cover for safety, health, and retirement needs.
“Karim” is a builder and an experienced plasterer, who considers insurance as one of the main problems for himself and other construction workers alike; he believes that: “The government cannot provide workers with quality opportunities or employment; and as a result, creates many problems for them”.
Karim also talks about his unemployment in the past, when the Social Security Organisation abruptly cancelled the insurance of him and other builders, without notifying any of them in advance: “When we attempt to follow up the cancellation of our insurance covers with the Social Security Organisation, they advise that they’ll visit us at work to discuss the situation further”. He continues: “and when we remind them of our unemployment and the fact that they cannot be visiting us at a non-existent job, they refer to the issue as ‘our’ problem and tell us to contact them again whenever we find a job”.
He also reiterates that construction workers can remain unemployed for as long as 6 months: “our unemployment for 6 months at a time, is a common problem that we are dealing with; given these circumstances, how are we expected to fix our problems?”.
He also complains about the approaches of the Fair Work Organisation for Building and Construction: “the Fair Work Organisation was built for us workers, but they do not provide us or even their own sectors any proper support.”. When Karim was unemployed, he requested for their assistance: “They told me that they have a job opportunity for me. The regular pay rate for plastering is 8000 Toman (in Iranian Currency) per meter, but they offered me only 2000 per meter; which is no different from slavery! On top of that, they charge me an annual membership-fee of 150000 Toman”
There are 1500000 construction workers in Iran
This number is confirmed by the head of the Construction Workers Union in Tehran Province, who states that: “These workers do not have a permanent employment and are assigned jobs only once every several days. This has caused them many problems, which exacerbate further when other nationalities get employed too”.