Women workers demand equal pay for equal work with men
Compared with the past, during the last few years and with implementation of the programs such as “Targeting of the Subsidies Law”, women workers’ condition has become more critical. Rampant inflation has reduced purchasing power and living standards of millions of workers, particularly women workers. In addition, with the temporary contracts becoming common, and factories with less than ten workers not being covered by the Labor Law, the women workers, particularly women employed in trades, have lost their job security and a large number of women workers with different employment experiences have joined the huge unemployment lines.
One can definitely emphasize that implementation of the programs suggested and dictated by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank to the Islamic Republic governments, have harmed and had worst consequences such as unemployment, wage reduction, different kinds of gender and work discriminations on women and on their families. Reform of the Labor Law, which was prepared to benefit the capitalists and managers, is an example of wiping out all Iranian workers’ rights, especially those of women workers. Because of this, one of the most important fields of independent unions’ activity is supporting and presenting women workers’ obvious demands. Among these demands, where its priority and urgency is obvious to everyone, is for equal work with that of men, receiving equal pay. Women workers, labor union activists, and also progressive groups and organization defending women’s rights and elimination of gender discrimination, are in agreement that all over the country, in most service and industrial production plants, especially in different professions, the monthly salaries that women workers receive are not even sufficient to take care of a family of four’s living necessities for a few days. Women’s wages are not based on their job qualifications, employment records and experiences; but is determined and paid in a completely biased manner, where it is even contrary to the existing laws. Numerous reports indicate that by imposing temporary contracts (in some cases these contracts are only a few days long), managers prevent women workers from obtaining rights such as insurance, child allowance, housing allowance and retirement benefits.
Iranian workers’ existing labor union movement should present women workers’ demands and needs; and must act and struggle for their materialization on the class-trade interest basis. It is necessary that demands such as, “For equal work with that of men, women workers must receive equal pay”; and “During the rest period before and after the child delivery, women workers’ jobs must remain secure, and managers should not have the right for dismissal”; and also, “Women should have the right to choose their own clothing”; be presented and on that basis, the labor union’s planned activities carried out.
Women workers are an inseparable component of the Iranian working class; and in the struggle for restoration of labor union rights, the right for establishment of unions, and achieving workers’ interests, have played a valuable role.