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۱۳۹۳ آبان ۷, چهارشنبه

“Targeting of the Subsidies”, Price Increases and Workers’ Wages

This year again Ali Taiebniah, Islamic Republic’s Minster of Economics, and Valiolah Seif, Director of Iran’s Central Bank, leading two separate high-ranking delegations attended the International Monetary Fund and World Bank’s joint fall meeting in the United Sates. According to the Mehr News Agency’s October 11, 2014 report, during Valiolah Seif’s meeting with Naoyuki Shinohara, Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, as usual Seif presented a report on “the implementation status of the ‘Targeting of the Subsidies (elimination of the subsidies) Law’.” In other words, the Imperialist organizations of International Monetary Fund and World Bank are eager to receive reports on the process of implementation of this anti-national law in Iran; and Islamic Republic authorities see the need for presenting reports on this matter.     

With implementation of this anti-national law and sharp increases in the production plants’ fuel costs, thousands of our country’s production factories were shut-down and millions of workers lost their jobs. With millions of unemployed workers becoming available, big capitalists and parasitic capital have been able to impose very cruel wages, work conditions and work contracts to Iranian workers. In addition to millions of workers losing their jobs and inhumane work conditions of those still working, with elimination of the subsidies and increases in prices of all commodities needed by workers such as water, electricity, propane gas, gas, milk, cheese……a very tragic living condition has been imposed on the workers as well. As an example, Mehr News Agency’s October 14, 2014 report indicated, “The minimum wage of about 609000 Tomans (approximately $187 - one Dollar is approximately 3200 Tomans) determined for the current year, at best can take care of a worker family’s needs for the first ten days of the month.” The same report added, with “500000 Tomans of increases in the workers’ cost of living during the first three months of this year”, the cost of living of a 4 person worker’s family increased from “1700000 Tomans” at the end of the last year to “2200000 Tomans” at present. In other words, workers’ minimum wage is approximately one-forth of the money required to reach the poverty-line; and price increases during only the first few months of this year is approximately equivalent to the workers’ minimum wage in our country. We must remember that a considerable segment of the workers receive less than the minimum wage; and often they receive their salaries with months of delay.     

Prior to assuming responsibilities and during the 2013 presidential elections, Rouhani pledged for determining workers’ wages according to the inflation-rate; and his Minister of Labor Rabieih promised adjusting the 2013 wages. Not only workers’ 2013 wages were not adjusted, their 2014 wages were also determined 11.5 percent below the inflation-rate announced by the government. While according to ILNA’s (Iranian Labor News Agency) March 1, 2014 report, Deputy Minster of Labor, Seid-Hassan Hefdah-Tan had indicated, “Between the years of 1997 and 2011, workers’ wage share of the total cost of production in Iran had dropped from about 13 percent to about 5 percent”; Hefdah-Tan had also indicated, “Considering the inflationary-recession and negative economic growth in the country, we cannot determine the minimum wage on the basis of inflation.” On March 10, 2014, ILNA reported that starting in May 2014, regular meetings “for determining workers’ wages on productivity basis” will be held; and on May 19th, while reporting on the “Wage and Productivity Committee’s” responsibilities, Faramarz Tofigy, President of the Committee indicated, “In Iran we have between 35 to 63 percent of unnecessary intermediary costs of the raw-material”; and on June 31, Tofigy described the “large amounts of payments (enticements), intermediary costs, and financial misuse” as “difficulties of the total costs of the raw-material.” On August 26, Mehr News Agency published the first report of the anti-worker Committee, where in 13 items mentioned influencing the “cost of production”, except for “serious role of intermediaries” and extensive Islamic Republic’s corruption, there was no mention of the role of workers’ wages on the “costs of production”; and on October 7, in its third report to the Ministry of Labor on the “state of the wages in the food industry”, by indicating that the “studies show that the intermediaries play a crucial role in the food industry……..a kind of lack of transparency exists in operations in this sector”, this anti-labor Committee indicated, “The Ministry of Labor has asked the ‘Wage and Productivity Specialty Committee’ to put an end to the bargaining methods and the extensive discussions between workers and managers concerning wage determination; and  workers’ yearly wages should be determined and ratified with a specific model.” As usual, Islamic Republic has left the enormous profits of the big capitalists and parasitic capital, and the costs of intermediaries, enticements, and limitless corruption within the regime in the cost of production alone, and intends to initiate another assault on the workers’ wages.

The fact is that our country has a capable and educated work-force, considerable under-ground reserves and resources for creation of jobs, and considerable wealth to advance production in the country. By emphasizing on implementation of the anti-national “Targeting of the Subsidies (elimination of subsidies) Law”, imperialist countries and organizations such as the International Monetary Fund and World Bank intended to destroy our national production, create vast markets for sale of their own products, and use our educated and very cheap work-force to expand their production and achieve enormous profits. Considering the extensive opportunities and incentives that Islamic Republic authorities are promising for foreign investors, it seems the imperialist countries have achieved their goal. But implementation of the anti-national “Targeting of the Subsidies Law” also has a worthy internal value for the Islamic Republic authorities. Profits from very low cost of the labor and revenues from elimination of the subsidies are divided among different sectors of the regime. Rouhani’s government pledged to allocate a portion of the earnings from implementation of the second phase of elimination of the subsidies to production. After passing of many months and much criticism for not acting on their pledge, on September 15, 2014, Rouhani’s First Deputy Esehage Jahangiry announced, “1.6 billion dollars from revenues of the ‘Targeting of the Subsidies’ plan will be allocated to the production.” However, on October 4, 2014, Mehr News Agency wrote, “Only 370 million dollars” of the 1.6 billion dollars will be assigned to production; and added, “It is interesting that the most vocal critics of unsuccessful implementation of the first phase of the ‘Targeting of the Subsidies Law’ were the authorities of the eleventh government (Rouhani’s government).” Finally, on October 2, 2014, government’s Spokesperson Mohammad-Bagger Nobacket told ISNA, “Payments to producers will in no way……be in cash form; but it will be in the form of subsidies to cover the difference in bank’s interests.” In other words, production’s portion from the revenues collected from elimination of the subsidies will also go to the banks, meaning to the financial capital. We must put an end to all of this corruption, exploitation and cruelty of the capital. The only path to workers liberty and achieving their rightful class interests is through organization of their independent labor unions and continuous and united struggle. 

United Workers Everything

Isolated Workers Nothing