Iran: Labor protests continue in cities, officials warn of another uprising

Reporting by PMOI/MEK

Iran, December 15, 2020—On Sunday, Hasan Mousavi Chalak, the head of the Association of Social Workers, warned about a potential uprising by slum dwellers in Iran and said: “What is the reasoning behind reducing the budget that was supposed to be used to raise welfare indicators in city slums, when we know that many of the post-revolution social uprisings started in these areas? We know that social harms are tied to the security of society.”

Chalak, whose remarks were reported by the state-run Hamdeli daily, added, “Remember where we are reducing, we are reducing the budget in areas where we have been hit from many times. The 2017 protests were by those who were concerned about their daily livelihoods. Not paying attention to this issue increases dissatisfaction and can naturally cause concerns.”

And the news of ongoing protests by all walks of life in many cities indicate that Chalak’s premonitions are not misplaced.

On Sunday, December 13, a group of teachers gathered in front of the Majlis (parliament), protesting their undetermined employment status.

The protesters said that about 13,000 teachers from all over the country want their employment status to be clarified and demand the adjustment to their contract. In some provinces, these teachers receive only 3 million rials (about $12) per month and have a 10-day insurance plan while their working hours are no different from officially employed teachers.

The teachers referred to the plan by the regime’s Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution to hire them and said: “This council emphasizes that to clarify the employment status of teachers, an Article 28 employment test must be held. At the same time, the council has stated that the recruitment of teachers should only be done through Farhangian University which did not exist when we entered the education system.”

These teachers have worked in the country’s education system for many years.

“Given that our working hours are the same as official teachers, we expect the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution to consider this situation,” they added.

There is a different contract in every province, which is not fair. They are demanding a change to their employment status and the improvement of their living conditions.

Iranian teachers hold protest rally in front of the Majlis—December 2020

Iranian teachers hold protest rally in front of the Majlis—December 2020

On Sunday, December 13, municipal workers in the city of Ilam, western Iran, held a rally in front of the Ilam courthouse protesting their delayed paychecks.

The placards of the protesting workers read: “What is my Crime? We have not been paid for several months, we are hungry!”

Meanwhile, locals in the city of Shahrekord, west central Iran, held a rally in front of the governor’s office and protested a seasonal exhibition held by the regime despite the coronavirus outbreak.

The demonstrators said that holding the exhibition due to the widespread coronavirus pandemic will intensify the spread of the virus and cause more deaths.

Protest by locals in Shahrekord

Protest by locals in Shahrekord

On Saturday, retired workers of Khuzestan province gathered at the office of the provincial pensioners’ association and demanded that the members of the association be held accountable.

“We are not satisfied with the way the association deals with demands of retirees. We have been waiting for the adjustment plan for several months, but we are not happy with the result,” said one of the retirees.

“If the centers are not able to follow up our demands, retirees should organize their own independent union and pursue their demands independently,” said one of the protesters.

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