Retirees and pensioners of the Steel Fund held rallies in several cities across Iran on Sunday, protesting poor living conditions, low wages, and the regime’s lack of response to their demands. Protests rallies were reported in Tehran, Ahvaz, Kermanshah, Damghan, and Isfahan, among other cities.
The protesters were calling for justice in their slogans and criticized the regime for claiming to be following the doctrines of equality and justice of Islam but trampling the basic rights of the people. “We’ve seen no justice, just lies,” the protesters were chanting.
In the past year, retirees have been regularly organizing protests in multiple cities. The protesters complain that their meager pensions are not nearly enough to cover their most basic expenses and are often delayed for several months.
The regime also refrains from adjusting their pensions in proportion to the rising inflation and the dropping value of the national currency and the costs of the product basket for a family of four. But regime officials refrain from addressing the pensioners’ demands.
The decline in Iran’s economy, spurred by government corruption and destructive policies, has plunged the lives of many pensioners and retired government workers into utter poverty. The rial, Iran’s national currency, has seen a huge dip in the past few years, losing more than 80 percent of its value.
This has caused a spike in the prices of basic goods. Meanwhile, pensions and salaries have not been adjusted to this fundamental shift in the economical dynamics of the society. Under the current rates, most pensioners live under the poverty line.
The regime’s response to the protests of pensioners has violent, cracking down on their protests and arresting them, or ignoring their demands and refusing to take any action. Some of the protesters have been arrested and sentenced to prison and flogging.
In addition to the pensioners, teachers have also been holding protests in recent weeks for better living conditions and basic rights. According to the regime’s own Center of Statistics, the inflation right is 44.4 percent and according to the figures of the labor ministry, the average price of foods and basic goods have increased by at least 83 percent in the past year.
Also on Sunday, a group of workers of the Khoy Communication Company held a protest rally after the company’s security prevented them from entering the building for work.
More than 40 workers had demanded that the company revises their contracts and raises their salaries based on the company’s work classification laws. But instead of addressing their demands, the company decided to discontinue their contracts and prevent them from coming to work. They have been told that they must back down from their demands or they will be fired.
At the same time, a group of employees of the Qom Province Health Community held a protest rally in front of the Medical Sciences University and marched toward the governor’s office.
One of the protesters said that the employees have been deprived of their legal rights and have gathered to settle their contract status. These employees, who are employed through third-party contractors, are demanding job security and stable contracts.
The protester said that despite having worked for 5-10 years, there has been no move to improve their contract status. Since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, they have been working full-time, but the government and parliament have refrained from revising their contract status.
Another protester said that the employees are afraid that they are at risk of losing their jobs. “We’ve been working under stressful conditions and unequal pay for years. We’ve lost some of our colleagues, but there still hasn’t been any improvement to our work status.”