After passing of more than four months since the elections, our country’s workers and toilers are still waiting for action on the government and Ministry of Labor’s promises, especially on re-examining of the act concerning the minimum wage. The eleventh government’s Ministry of Labor has taken no action, even concerning implementation of the 15 thousand Tomans (one dollar is approximately 3000 Tomans) increase in housing allowance; and still this act’s fate is unknown.
The composition of the cabinet members and the programs disclosed by the ministers, especially economic ministers, reveal the reality that the programs dictated by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank will constitute the policies and activities with top priority. Workers rightfully ask why their horrible work and living conditions has no place in the government’s compiled programs?!
Up to now, as an act of publicity-stunt, which is really intended to encourage population growth, for workers with large family, the limit on the number of children covered by the insurance was lifted. On October 12, ILANA wrote: “According to the new law, from now on, without asking for payments the Social Security Organization is required to issue insurance cards for workers’ children.”
We all know that with implementation of the policies dictated by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank during the recent years, wide-spread poverty has destroyed millions of workers’ lives. In addition for the temporary contracts becoming routine, the phenomenon of overdue wages, wide-spread and collective lay-offs, diminishing purchasing power and wages, prosecution and detaining of the labor activists demanding adherence to labor union rights, are the known and concrete results and effects of implementation of the policies contrary to the workers’ and majority of the peoples’ interests. According to the latest official statistics, comparing inflation rates and wages indicate that the class inequality has become more extreme; and as the big capitalists’ revenues and profits has increased, the workers’ wages have declined more and more and have become insufficient to cover their expenses. According to the Meher News Agency’s current mid October report, a comparison of the latest minimum wage approved by the Grand Labor Council with the actual inflation rate, reveals imposing of poverty on workers and their families.
With the current level of wages, workers can not afford to pay for the education, health care, housing and food expenses of themselves and their families. Adding the phenomenon of overdue wages to these problems, one can clearly realize the extent of the calamity.
To be able to defend its rights and interests, the Iranian working class needs organizing and organization. Labor union organization is the workers’ indisputable right! Economic programs such as privatization and attempts to join the World Trade Organization, through creation and preparing of a “cheap and obedient” work-force, are some of the main elements in destruction of the workers’ job security and diminishing levels of wages. Therefore, accurate recognition of the reason, and the main elements of the workers’ dire living condition, is very important. In fact, in the struggle for wage increases and putting an end to temporary contracts and other such demands, one should not ignore and close the eyes to the nature of the economic programs.
Independent unions cannot, and should not overlook the nature and content of these programs and ignore it in their work agenda.
Through exposing these programs and clarifying the extent of such programs to large masses of workers in plants and factories, using all existing opportunities, it is necessary to organize workers’ isolated protests.
By planting the seed of consciousness among workers about economic programs based on the free-market economy and privatization, workers’ labor union movement can advance the fight for the most urgent demands, such as wage increases according to the genuine inflation rate, putting an end to the temporary contracts, recognition of the right to strike and others.