Gholam-Reza Khademizadeh, the head of the Supreme Association of Labour Associations (SALA), has announced that 43 per cent of Iranian workers live under the poverty line. This is a big admission by the leader of one of the Iranian regime’s bogus so-called labour organisations. Fathollah Bayat, the leader of another fake pro-regime organisation, the Union of Contract Workers, has gone even further by saying that 85 per cent of urban households live below the absolute poverty line!
In March 2010 the regime’s Supreme Labour Council set the monthly minimum wage for workers in the current Iranian year (21 March 2010-20 March 2011) at 303,000 tomans ($293/€214/£180). That amount, even before the recent massive cuts in subsidies, was not even enough for a single person’s basic needs, let alone those of a worker’s family. According to the Mehr News Agency, in addition to criticising the current monthly minimum wage, Khademizadeh also said: “Many women now work as clerks, operators and in service jobs and are even deprived of the minimum wage.”
Some officials at the Labour House, yet another phoney pro-regime organisation, have said that workers’ monthly minimum wage should be increased to between 500,000 tomans ($484/€354/£298) and 800,000 tomans ($775/€566/£477). The Pay Committee of the Co-ordinating Association of the Islamic Labour Councils in Tehran and Alborz provinces, based on statistics published by the Central Bank and the food consumption of workers’ families, has come to the conclusion that before the “targeting of subsidies” a family of four, on average, would have needed more than 1.3 million tomans to meet its costs.
Genuine trade unions
While all the above sham so-called workers’ organisations of the regime try to sow confusion about the true cost of living, the genuine trade unions like the Tehran and Suburbs Vahed Bus Company Workers’ Trade Union, the Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane Company Workers’ Trade Union and the Free Trade Union of Iranian Workers have also been busy.
The real labour organisations have referred to Article 41 of the regime’s Labour Code, which mentions annual inflation and the real costs of living for the average family of four, and have said that to cope with the ever-increasing inflation and the massive cuts in subsidies, the minimum wage should rise in line with the cost of living, so that workers can have a decent life. They have therefore suggested that the monthly minimum wage should be set at least one million tomans ($968/€708/£596) per month.
Khademizadeh has said that one million will never become reality. It is interesting how the leader of the SALA, which was only recently set up by the regime, opposes the genuine labour leaders.
Some news agencies have reported that next year’s monthly minimum wage will be set at 500,000 tomans ($484/€354/£298). The worse the Iranian workers’ economic situation becomes the more sham so-called organisations the regime seems to set up. It best efforts, however, are just going to be short-term solutions. The ever-sinking standard of living is an inescapable fact that will quickly expose all these manoeuvres.
Iranian Workers’ Solidarity Network
20 February 2010