Iran have been the target of increasing attacks on their working
and living conditions in the past few years. The Government’s
own statistics speak of 16 million jobless, including 10 million
young unemployed. This is at a time when each year one million
more young workers enter the labour market.
of workers have lost their jobs in the last few years, and
everyday workers are dismissed without the least benefits.
of permanent work by two to three-monthly contracts is becoming
a norm in most of the workplaces in Iran. Workers with permanent
jobs are being fired and the same workers or other unemployed
workers are being hired as contract workers for the same
position with the lowest possible wages and benefits. This is
nothing other than open slavery.
wage that has been set by the Islamic Republic of Iran is $130
per month, while the official poverty line, announced by the
same government, is $320. For more than one million workers even
this minimum wage has not been paid - some for close to two
years. Furthermore, in many workplaces workers are being hired
as contract workers for wages around $65.00 a month.
situation has forced workers into selling their body organs,
prostitution and child labour, in order to survive. It has led
to addiction, suicide, break-up of families and physical and
workplaces in Iran are very unsafe, and workers’ representatives
are not allowed to monitor the health and safety of the
workplaces. In Iran Khodro car company alone - one of hundreds
of unsafe workplaces in Iran - in the past two years nine
workers have lost their lives. In two cases where the young
workers in question did not have any history of illness, their
hearts stopped due to excessive work and long working hours.
Iran are denied the right to free labour organizations, strike,
collective bargaining and association. Any attempt to organize
is met with persecution and repression. To achieve their
demands, workers have to protest, and when they do so, they are
confronted by the armed forces. Two years ago the police fired
into an assembly of striking copper-mine workers in Khatoon
Abad, resulting in four workers losing their lives. This past
winter striking textile workers of Fomenat were attacked and
beaten up by the security forces.
activists have been daily threatened, intimidated, detained and
interrogated. Only in the past month Sadegh Amiri, Parviz
Salarvand, Mohsen Hassan Zadeh, Roya Doroodi, and many other
labour activists have been arrested, but have later been
released under the pressure of protests.
have not been onlookers to the attacks on their lives and
livelihood. Protests are daily occurrences in the workplaces in
Iran. Today, strikes, picket lines, demonstrations and issuing
of ultimatums to the employers and government are becoming
common forms of protest among Iranian workers.
assemblies in front of government offices, growing efforts at
organising, holding spectacular May Day rallies all over the
country (the largest May Day in the last 26 years in spite of
all these activities being illegal), passing resolutions at
meetings, putting forward clear demands, making radical and
sharp speeches against the conditions, workers taking part in
various labour committees and centres, labour activists stepping
forth publicly, writing letters and statements in their own
names, workers’ spouses participating in the actions, and so on
– these are all aspects of another picture of the Iranian
working class today.
to the problems they encounter, workers have tried to build up
strong solidarity and support both inside Iran and
internationally. These efforts have played a major role in
strengthening workers’ struggles in the last two years, and
occasionally have succeeded in persuading the whole population
of a town or city to support their cause, forcing the government
and employers to give in to their demands. As an example, in the
recent strike by Shahoo workers in the city of Sanandaj we
witnessed a broad solidarity movement among the people,
including by workers’ families. Also, around 30 workers in one
part of Mahshahr petrochemical plant, in protest against
non-payment of wages, built up a powerful movement, forcing the
management to pay up the wages owed to workers.
current protests, international solidarity with Iranian workers
and supporting their struggle and demands have been even more
important. Sending supportive letters to Iranian workers and
protest letters to the Iranian regime, sending delegations to
visit the workplaces, supporting labour activists who are being
targeted, etc., are just a few of the solidarity acts that in
the last few years have been taking place, helping the workers
in their fightback.
protests in Iran take place mainly around the following issues
labour organisations, independent of the government. Workers say
they do not need permission from the government to set up their
own organizations; it is their right, which must be recognized
without any conditions whatsoever.
right to strike. Workers say strikes and protest gatherings are
their right and they must be free of any conditions or
restrictions. Also, the wages for the days workers spend on
strike must be paid in full.
rise. A decent, comfortable and humane living condition for
workers, and adequate unemployment insurance to every unemployed
person. The call for a minimum wage of at least $550.00 is
widespread among the workers in Iran. 3,000 workers in the city
of Kashan, and also workers of Filver factory and Sadra
shipbuilders have signed a petition demanding that minimum wage.
The Metalworkers and Mechanics Union of Kermanshah have also
joined the petition campaign. The petition is still being signed
by workers of various industrial centres.
of unpaid wages. Workers demand that their delayed or unpaid
wages be paid immediately. Not paying workers for the work they
have done must be treated as a crime. Both the employers and the
government are responsible for this daylight robbery.
of Iran demand that groups such as Islamic Councils (Shora-ye
Eslami), Workers’ House (Khane-ye Kargar) and the
Security of the factories (Herasat) be banned from the
workplaces. They demand an immediate end to harassment,
threatening, arrest and interrogation of labour activists. For
instance in the past few months, Farshid Beheshti Zad and Sheis
Amani from Kurdistan Textile company, Sadegh Amiry, an activist
of the Follow-up Committee for the Formation of Free Workers’
Organizations, Parviz Salarvand, a worker from Iran Khodro car
plant, seven activists from the city of Saqez 2004 May Day
celebration, and Mohsen Hassan Zadeh from Kashan Textile have
been arrested and interrogated, and some have been put on trial.
of Iran demand direct control and monitoring of health and
safety in their workplaces. They demand a ban on old, worn-out
and substandard machines. They also demand a ban on hazardous
substances that are already banned internationally, and which
are endangering workers’ health and wellbeing. Workers are
especially calling for an international body of delegates to be
sent to monitor the situation in Iran Khodro car plant, where in
less than two years nine workers have lost their lives.
of Iran object to the presence of Islamic Council and Workers’
House officials and thugs at the meetings of the International
Labour Organization (ILO) in the name of Iranian workers’
representatives. They must be thrown out of the ILO and its
House and Islamic Councils tried to use this year’s May Day as a
presidential campaign for Rafsanjani. 12,000 workers left Azadi
stadium in Tehran when they found out that Rafsanjani was
scheduled to speak there, turning the event into a fiasco for
the government and the Workers’ House. Also on May 9 this year,
Workers’ House and Islamic Council hooligans, with Hassan
Sadeghi and Parviz Ahmadi Panjaki as ringleaders, attacked Vahed
Bus Drivers’ Union centre, beating up its leaders and wrecking
the centre and its property. This barbaric attack shows the true
nature of these organisations, which are rightly hated by
workers. In this connection, the Follow-up Committee for the
Formation of Free Workers’ Organizations and other workers’
groups have written protest letters to the ILO.
some of the immediate demands of workers in Iran. Workers in
Iran fight for a better life, for welfare, for freedom of
expression and organisation, and other political rights