By Pooya Stone
Like any other strata in Iran’s society, the retirees are oppressed, and their rights are neglected too. The first injustice is about their payment, which is not even reaching the minimum costs of their livelihood and is several times lower than the poverty line.
Now the salary of the retirees is about 1,600 million Tomans. On 26 June, the country’s Vice President promised an increase in retirees’ salaries by 15 to 26 percent, which in the best case is about 2 million Tomans and is far lower than the poverty line.
The state-run Etemad Online wrote: “The poverty line was announced in May 2019 to be 8 million Tomans, but unfortunately today, compared to the same period last year, the poverty line for a family of four is close to 9 million Tomans.”
In protest of their violated rights and while the government is looting their wealth, on 15 July, a number of social security retirees in various cities, including Tehran, Isfahan, Mashhad, Kermanshah, Bojnourd, Tabriz, Arak, Khorramabad, Ilam, Ahvaz, and Karaj held a protest rally in front of the general offices of the Social Security Organization of these cities.
At one of these protests, a retiree said: “A retired employee who has served in the government for 30 years does not seem to belong to the government at all. When he goes to the relevant office, he is not accepted. They give me just 1.5 million Tomans monthly. This money is not even enough for water, electricity and gas bills, and even not enough to pay the rent.”
One-and-a-half million Tomans is currently only the equivalent of 60 dollars, while the salary of a retired teacher in Turkey is at least 400 dollars a month.
One of the major problems for retirees is that their salaries do not match those of the employees. According to government laws, the difference between the salaries of employed and retired people should not be more than 15 percent, but according to government figures, this difference can even reach 50 percent.
Their salary is so insignificant that Javad Nikbin, an MP, said: “Retirees are paid less than a simple worker in the country. Shouldn’t the law say that the loan of the retirees should be 10% lower than the employees, is it really ten percent now or 50 or 60 percent?” (Radio Farhang, 15 July)
In one of the protests, one of the retirees shouted to the government: “We do not beg you; we want our rights, government, you owe us. We have all worked hard in this country for 30 years.”
Due to rising prices and inflation, because their salaries do not increase in proportion to this situation, they lose their purchasing power year by year. According to the head of the Tabriz Retired Workers’ Association, 57 percent of retirees have lost their purchasing power.
The situation of the retirees is so disastrous, that one of the MPs while attacking President Hassan Rouhani, said: “Mr. Rouhani, are you informed about the prices of meat, poultry, eggs, dairy products, etc., and do you know that chicken and meat have been removed from the people’s table? And the rest are flying away. Is this the economic boom that you have promised to the people?
“Dr. Rouhani, I do not know whether you are aware of the miserable living conditions of workers and retirees who have to work two shifts daily to survive?” (ICANA, 12 July)