By Kaveh Ghoreish, Rooz Online
Figures published after the first of May indicate unprecedented conditions for workers in Iran and point to the deteriorating state of affairs on a daily basis. While Tehran is the scene of political battles among its power mongers, a situation that has embroiled the establishment in its deepest political crisis, workers in the country continue to be laid off, production units to be shut and their owners are abandoning their production plants at disturbing rates.
Iranian workers demanding unpaid wages and questioning costs of privatization
Official news agencies have reported that at least 3,000 workers were fired from production units across the country last week or became unemployed because their contracts were not renewed. And this is only the tip of the iceberg of problem that is the topic of discussion in various government forums in the presence of security and law enforcement officials.
Reports also indicate that workers in various parts of the country have demonstrated against these conditions in their work places in the last two days. In one instance, tens of retired workers from Isfahan Steel Plant gathered in front of the Majlis in Tehran to protest the non-payment of their wages and retirement benefits.
These reports of more lay off come a week after the remarks by a member of the board of directors of the High Center for the Workers Associations of Iran (Kanoone Alie Anjomanhaye Senfie Kargari Iran) about a 10 percent rise in the unemployment rate during the past year. On the eve of the international Labor Day, May 1, Abolfazl Fatholahi had said, “The administration’s economic policies during last year have resulted in the elimination of jobs.”
Rise in Unemployment
With the expulsion of more than 350 workers in the Madnoosh Sugarcane factory in Saghez, and the non extension of the contracts of 800 other workers, 1,150 workers from this plant joined other workers who have been laid off since March this year.
Mohammad Saleh Hosseini, the executive secretary of Khane Kargar (House of Workers) of Saghez told ILNA labor news agency on May 6, “The Madnoosh Sugarcane factory in this town is in trouble and on the verge of closure because of a shortage of primary material and the fluctuations in the rate of foreign exchange.” According to a workers official, many workers of this plant cannot get their work insurance benefits because their workers insurance fees were have not been regularly paid.
At the same time, 2,000 seasonal workers at Neybar plant in the Karoon agro-industrial plant in Shoosh demonstrated because they were laid off prior to the termination of their contracts.
Rahm Khoda-Abbasi, a member of the Islamic Workers Council of the Neybar plant told ILNA, “Workers normally remain at work throughout the season but this year workers have already been told not to show up for work even though some 3,500 hectares of land remain to be utilized.”
He added that these workers had labor contracts till the end of the season. The officials of the plant justified these lay off by saying that another contractor was being brought in for the work.
Seyed Hossein Bagherian, the secretary of the Workers House in the Shahriyar region also announced that 50 workers from Shahr Daroo pharmaceutical company were laid off prior to the termination of their labor contracts and the owners of the plant want to give the work to another contractor. Bagherian added that some of these workers had been there for over 13 years. “Most industrial and farming units in the Shahriyar region reduced the number of their hired workers since the first days of this year - March 21st,” he announced.
Other reports indicate that 100 workers were laid off at the Kowsar Pharmaceutical plant
because their labor contracts were not renewed.
In Tehran, a member of the Center for the Islamic Councils of the province announced the layoff of 200 workers in the Nab vegetable oil company. Ali Akbar Eyvazi told ILNA news agency, “This vegetable oil producing plant has been shut since the beginning of this year (March 21st).”
These layoffs have resulted in protests by workers at various plants and towns. Last Saturday, 100 laid off workers from the Mazandaran Textile plant gathered to protest in front of the governor general’s offices in Mazandaran province. Demonstrations have also been reported in front of parliament in the capital.
... Payvand News - 05/09/12 ... --