The current year started amidst a worsening situation for the workers and escalating unrest with the ruling regime continuing to ignore the compounding crisis. To silence the voice of those reacting to the mounting crisis, they have arrested teachers; allowed the closure of the Hepco factory; ordered the railway workers of Lorestan to curtail their protesting of unpaid salaries; continued to fail to pay the due pensions of Abadan’s Petrochemical Factory’s retired workforce; fired 500 workers from the Haraz Dam; and permitted contractors in the oil fields to delay the payment of the workers’ wages for more than 4 months.
The results from rampant privatisation and the implementation of the IMF’s instructions to lower the cost of labour, along with the raid on the social security funds built up from workers’ salaries over 40 years, indicate the ineffectiveness of these economic programs which have led to more poverty and more protests. The high price of commodities provides the means for the further extorting of workers by marketeers and the merchant bourgeoisie – all while currency speculators play with the value of the national currency to benefit only the mafia and destroy the purchasing power of ordinary working people.
To overcome this crisis, the government has no choice but to abandon the policies that support the rentiers and middlemen who have taken over the government. In order to solve the problems of the workers, the government must stop supporting the embezzlers and allow factories like Haft Tappeh, Hepco and Traktorsazi Tabriz to transfer to the workers’ management. The financial resources of the banks should be properly deployed and utilised in society – with a tight system of monitoring by government inspectors – geared to address the elimination of poverty and unemployment. To this end, the workers’ unions, – in particular the Union of Metalworkers and Mechanics of Iran – are prepared to support the implementation of such policies.
We once again declare that repression will not work. The national interests of the country today require that the currently prevailing economic conditions be changed. If the US government stops importing steel from China to maintain its economic interests and violates international law in favour of its people, why should our government insist on imports and continue to allocate currencies to mafia-like importers to buy railway material from China and India instead of the purchasing of its equivalent from domestic producers such as the Esfahan Steel Complex?
The crisis has taken over all spheres of the country’s economic, political, cultural life – as well as military affairs and there is no prospect of a solution if the current policies continue to be pursued. In fact, if there is no change of course on the part of the government then the protests will further spread.
In declaring our support for the workers’ protests, we also condemn any arrests of the protesters and state our full solidarity with them.
We demand the unconditional release of all those protesting against the anti-national policies of the Iranian government.
Union of Metalworkers and Mechanics of Iran
20 May 2018