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۱۳۹۲ بهمن ۱۵, سه‌شنبه

Wage Increases according to the Actual Inflation Rate is the Workers’ Demand

With approaching of the time for announcement of the year 93 (2014) minimum wage for workers covered by the Labor-Law, the topic of minimum-wage and the need for its increase has turned into workers’ nation-wide demand. The approach for determining the 2014 minimum wage is an inseparable part of the Islamic Republic’s general economic-social policies.
We have not forgotten that during the presidential elections, Hassan Rouhani said, “15 percent difference between the inflation rate and the workers’ wages has created difficulties for this dear group…..If I am elected for the position of Presidency, I will increase the workers’ wages based on the increases in inflation rate and according to the law.” But after being elected to the “position of Presidency”, make-up of the economic team selected by Rouhani, Rouhani government’s excessive enthusiasm for closer ties with imperialist organizations of the “International Monetary Fund” and the “World Bank”, Rouhani’s and his economic team’s policies and actions during the last six months, statements of the new government officials and different social groups’ reactions to those statements, has clearly displayed the new government’s anti-worker nature and class base, to the workers. As an example, pointing that the “statements and programs of the nominated Minister of Cooperation, Labor and Welfare are part of the demands of the Iranian civil society”, on 12th of August 2013, General Secretary of the Grand Center for Management’s Trade Associations said, “We hope with the green light of the parliament members, these promises are fulfilled.” Also, one of the challenges considered during the Rouhani government “high-ranking officials’” October 2013 meeting with the “International Monetary Fund” delegation in Tehran, was “reforming of the subsidies.”

Nine months after the workers’ complaint regarding the 2013 minimum-wage, on December 8, 2013, the Administrative Justice Office’s Chief stated, “Resolution of the workers’ complaint requires that the government provide the necessary means and budget.” In his hundredth-day report, Rouhani stated, “I am firm on my commitment to you”; however, he did not bring-up his promise to the workers regarding increases to the 2013 minimum-wage, or even the 2014 minimum-wage. However, to demonstrate his complete support of the government’s class base, very clearly he stated, “I hold job-makers’ (managers) hands firmly, and with humility, consider myself at their service.”

Indicating that “Increasing the minimum wage on the basis of the inflation rate will not solve the workers’ problems”, on November 26, 2013, Seied Hassan Hefdahtan, Deputy Minister of Labor pledged a new “innovation” in determining the 2014 minimum-wage; where the new plan, “while increasing the workers’ purchasing-power, will reduce the cost to the managers” as well. Following scores of reactions to his statements in the public media, on December 2, 2013, Hefdahtan indicated, “The coming year’s minimum wage will be determined such that it will even be several percentage points above the official inflation rate.” On December 29, at a meeting with “a group of representatives from official labor organizations”, Hefdahtan indicated that the government intends to provide “part of the workers’ wages” through a basket of specific “essential goods”; and finally, on January 6, 2014, Mehr news agency reported, “With governments’ latest decision, 80 thousand Tomans (one dollar is approximately 3000 Tomans) increase in the monthly salary of the 12 million workers covered with the Labor-Law was obviated.”

Article 42 of the Labor-Law emphasizes on the workers’ wage determination on the basis of inflation rate and cash payment of the wages. Based on our experiences from previous baskets of goods, delivery of baskets of goods will last for one year or at most for two years. In their misleading discussions in the government media during the recent weeks, “representatives of the official labor organizations” connected to the Ministry of Labor, have argued on the amount and type of the basket of goods being offered by the government. According to the Central Bank’s report, December 2013 inflation rate is 39.3 percent. The 487 thousand Tomans minimum monthly salary is already one million Tomans below the poverty-line; according to the law and based on the 39.3 percent inflation rate, 191 thousand Tomans must be added to the base salary of the workers receiving the minimum 487 thousand Tomans salary. Not basket of goods, but addition of 191 thousand Tomans to the workers’ base salary. If the government succeeds in violating the workers’ equitable salary again, the difference between 191 thousand Tomans and the 80 thousand Tomans offered by the government, meaning 111 thousand Tomans, every month, until the end of his or her life, will be deducted from the legal salary of the worker receiving the minimum-wage. The reality is that aggression at this level has repeatedly been imposed during the past years.

As usual, the present government officials are also portraying the lawful salary increases as “inflationary”; and the majority of the “Grand Labor Council” members believe that the wage increases will cause “workers’ dismissals.” According to the Mehr news agency’s November 10, 2013 report, “At present, Iran has one of the cheapest wage rates” in the world. By exposing the true nature of the so called workers’ representatives at the “Grand Labor Council”, where all of them are members of the “Center for Islamic Councils”; and also considering the new government officials’ reactionary goals, by unifying workers’ scattered protests and building a unified and organized movement, the labor activists and the independent labor unions must prevent additional class income inequality and stop our country’s work-forces becoming more “cheaper”. With a unified struggle against the anti-worker economic-social policies, we must not allow toilers’ life and workers’ class interests be trampled by the big capitalists and the government of money and capital, again.