During the last few days before the start of the meetings to determine the national minimum wage for the next year ( 21st March2016- 20th March 2017) we are witnessing:
- the prosecutions of Ebrahim Madadi, the Leader, and Davood Razavi, a member of Executive Committee, of Tehran and SuburbsBus Company Trade Union (Sherkat-e Vahed Syndicate) for organising the workers,
- the judicial proceedings taken against seven workers from Bafgh Iron Oar Mines for protesting against privatisation which was followed with
- the arrest of 20 workers of Khatoon Abad Copper Smelter for objecting to the regulations governing the employment and sackings of workers.
Iranian trade unionists ask: what is the hidden message of the government’s Sixth Development Plan for workers? Does the government expect that the workers will forgo their basic human rights?
During the last week, more than 2000 workers in Asalouyeh, the industrial heartland of Iran’s economy, went on strike protesting against 4 to 5 months of unpaid salaries and 200 of them were sacked. 400 coal miners from Tarzeh-Shahroud protested against 4 months of unpaid wages. 200 cool miners from Yourt in Goolestan province protested against 11 months of unpaid wages. 200 workers from Haft Tappeh Sugar Cane Company organised gatherings within the factory protesting against non-payment of their wages and the annual bonuses.
We ask the ministers of Labour, Economy and Justice how long do you intend to deprive the families of the working people from their unpaid wages by supporting and giving advantages to the bosses? Why are you taking the workers to the court instead of considering their human and labour rights? How is it that, the workers’ monthly wages which are 4 times below the poverty line and are equivalent to few days of your family’s expenses can be delayed and unpaid for up to 11 months – and if there is any objection or protest from the workers, then you summon the workers to the courts?
Imprisonment and prosecution of the labour activists in the Revolutionary Courts that are taking place now- during the days of [37th] anniversary of the 1979 revolution which was achieved by our powerful hands and on the eve of meetings of the “Supreme Council for setting Wages” to decide the annual national minimum wage for 2016-17- has only one message for us: we are being condemned to minimum wages below the poverty line for the crime of kicking out a corrupt king and for demanding equal rights and social justice; for fighting in the [Iran-Iraq] war to repulse from our country [in 1981] those that have now created the ISIS- we are being condemned for wanting and trying to have a prosperous and sovereign Iran; for wanting to have health and safety at workplaces – we are being condemned for the crime of demanding to have a free national health insurance and free education which are both stipulated in the constitution – we are being condemned for demanding to have workers’ supervision over our saving funds that are held by the Social Security Organisation.
Following the ratification of the Nuclear Agreement (P5+1) in January, the Iranian and foreign capitalists are now demanding obedient workers along with a slavish labour environment in an Iran free of Labour Law.
Since the government announced that the rate of inflation in February-March  will drop to a single figure, the bosses are strongly stressing on implementation of the section 41 of the Labour Law in relation to wages [section 41 of Labour Law, stipulates pay rises to be determined in line with the rate of inflation].
While we are objecting to the delayed unpaid wages, prosecution and imprisonment of the labour activists and the other activists; we are also demanding the opening of the negotiations between the workers, government and bosses in a similar manner to the way that the negotiations to reach the Nuclear Agreements were carried out. We demand the increasing of the spending power of all workers and oppose the kind of minimum wage setting that makes us effectively poorer.
Workers, Trade Unions, Independent Workers’ Guild Associations,
It is only our unity that can bring the capitalists to the negotiation table. We must unite to defend our wages and what has been stipulated in the law for us.
1st of February 2016
The Union of Metalworkers and Mechanics of Iran