Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Iranian Workers Suffering Regime's Naked Oppression

NCRI - No matter where they work, Iranian workers have to go through an oppression coming from every side in Iran under the rule of mullahs.
Comparing the minimum wage, insurance plans, cost of treatment, labor law and many other issues in Iran and other countries could reveal the depth of injustice Iranian workers are subject to.
Minimum wage
Set at 1,114,140 Tomans(1Toman=10Rials) a month, the country’s minimum wage announced by Rouhani’s government is equivalent to $212, given that US dollar’s market price is currently 5,250 Tomans. This means that Iranian workers are paid $1.1 an hour, which is far less than what workers earn elsewhere.
A worker in Turkey, for example, earns at least $578 a month or $3.2 an hour, meaning a Turkish worker earns three times higher than his Iranian counterpart.
In Beijing, China, workers earn $270 per month at a minimum, among the lowest in the world. Nonetheless, Chinese workers earn 1.3 times higher than Iranian workers.
With a more than $15 dollar an hour minimum wage, an Australian worker earns 14 times higher than an Iranian worker.
Minimum wage in Luxembourg, United States and Chile are 14, 7 and 2.32 US dollars respectively.
As acknowledged by Ali Khodayee, the so-called workers’ representative in regime’s Supreme Labor Council, “there are at least three million uninsured workers, which is a big number compared to the country’s working population.” (State-run Khabar TV, November 2, 2017)
Some experts believe that there are three million uninsured workers involved in underground jobs in Iran, which by itself is unlawful.
The workers who are insured, on the other hand, have to pay at least seven percent of their salary for insurance premium. The most insurance plans, however, are such that the workers eventually have to pay for services out of their own pockets.
With staggering prices of hospitals and medications, many workers can’t afford hospital costs.
Last year, regime’s Health Ministry excluded 162 drugs from insurance coverage, practically pushing workers and society’s low-income population further below the poverty line.
Insurance and Health Ministry officials argue that the excluded drugs are among the highly consumed and cheap medications, so they can be purchased at cheap prices in drug stores.
As a result, 160 so-called cheap medications are no longer covered by health insurance. The same is true for too expensive drugs as well, despite the fact that a monthly fee of 380,000 tomans is deducted from workers’ salaries as health insurance premium.
While Iranian workers are going through such an injustice, healthcare costs for workers and their family members in developed countries are totally paid by employer and the insurance company.
Job security
More than 90 percent, and even up to 95 percent, of Iranian workers’ contracts are provisional or blank signed.
In an interview with regime’s Khabar TV on November 2, 2017, chairman of Workers’ Guilds Association ‘Gholamreza Abbasi’ says “unfortunately, we’re faced with a huge problem called temporary contracts, from which more than 96 percent of the country’s workers are suffering.”
Considering that 13 million workers are the primary breadwinners for 42 million Iranians –more than 54 percent of the population– lack of job security has had an immense negative impact on lives of Iranian workers, which as a result will negatively affect the country’s whole population as well.
As acknowledged by Esmaeil Zarifi-Azad, director of Labor Relations Department in regime’s Ministry of Cooperatives and Social Welfare, “more than 90 percent of written contracts are provisional while verbal agreements are decreasing on a daily basis. The employers meanwhile are naturally inclined towards written agreements so they can take advantage of temporary contracts. (Regime’s Khabar TV, November 2, 2017)
Even regime officials seek to take advantage of the labor law so they can legalize temporary and blank signed contracts.
According to Note 2, Article 7, of the country’s labor law, jobs that are continuous in nature will be considered as permanent unless a time period is stated in the contract. That’s why employers are unwilling to sign any contract with workers, so they can freely sack the workers anytime they want.
Such injustice applied to millions is unprecedented in the world and as Esmaeil Zarifi puts it “everywhere in the world, even in countries with liberal and open economies, lawmakers and governments have been taking steps to limit provisional contracts. We have many instances in this regard which could be referred to. While the majority of countries in the world are moving in that direction, there are only a few countries like Iran in which temporary contracts could still be signed without any limitations involved.” (State-run Khabar TV, November 2, 2017)
Moreover, while developed countries’ social security system supports workers who have lost their jobs, the system is still missing in Iran.
Share of production
Pointing to labor share --of production-- Esmaeil Zarif says “the figure is 70 percent for the United States, 67 for Australia and more than 50 for other developed countries. For countries in the same category as Iran’s the number is between 25 to 30 percent, while Iran’s labor share of only five percent is the lowest in the world and places the country at the bottom of the list.
That’s why many workers refer to regime’s labor relations as slavery-like conditions.
Iranian workers at the forefront of last year’s protests
Summing up the reports on last year’s protests shows that more than 5760 protest rallies were recorded, of which 1985 were held by workers, ranking them as the number one and the biggest social stratum that have held rallies and staged strikes and sit-ins to achieve their most basic rights.

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