“Our salary is 2 million, the poverty line is 10 million.”
This cry reflects the dimensions of pain and suffering that have now gripped most Iranians. Indeed, why, when the poverty line in Iran is at least 10 million tomans, is the minimum wage about 2 million and set to be just 3.5 million next year? To answer this question, we first review Article 41 of the government’s labor law.
“Workers’ wages, salaries, benefits and holidays should be calculated based on the real inflation rate in the country.
Every year, the Supreme Labor Council is obliged to determine the minimum wage for different parts of the country or different industries according to the following criteria:
- The minimum wage for workers according to the percentage of inflation announced by the Central Bank of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
- The minimum wage, without taking into account the physical and mental characteristics of the workers and the characteristics of the work assigned, must be sufficient to support a family, the average number of which is announced by the authorities.”
But why does the regime not follow its own law?
The state-run newspaper Resalat wrote on February 28: “Workers lose 30 to 40 percent of their purchasing power each year.”
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Meanwhile, the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and companies affiliated with the supreme leader Ali Khamenei, which control about 60 percent of the country’s economy and labor force, are making huge profits. Last year, the price of a Pride (Iran’s car) increased from 25 million tomans to 105 million tomans. But have the salaries of the workers of Iranian machine-building factories also quadrupled?
Has a more than 100 percent increase in housing prices led to a more than 100 percent increase in the wages of construction workers?
The answer is no.
The reason why workers’ wages are not increasing is the astronomical looting that the regime and Khamenei’s affiliated institutions are taking away from them.
The state-run Etelaat newspaper wrote on April 11 about the approval of the Supreme Labor Council of the regime: “The minimum wage for workers in the new year (2020) was set at 1.835 million tomans.”
Of course, this figure was so scandalous that they had to add another 100,000 tomans a few weeks later to silence the protests.
The state news agency ILNA on July 30, 2020, in a report, acknowledged that: “It is always the government that opposes raising workers’ wages.”
“The government has always opposed a fair and adequate increase in workers’ wages, claiming that wages are inflationary; This is while the government itself has been one of the biggest generators of inflation by injecting liquidity under the name of subsidy. This fact is clearly seen even in the published official reports.”
As for the minimum wage in 2021, the situation has not changed much, and it is many times at risk of poverty. The government website of Eqtesad-e-24 in this regard wrote:
“At present, the government has set a minimum of 3.5 million tomans for its employees next year, and it seems unlikely that government representatives will pay more than this amount.”
But where do the rights that are denied to workers and other disadvantaged sections of society really go?
The state-run newspaper Arman on February 17 gave an indication, writing: “If today people are forced to borrow even in the field of “bread”, one should look for the money that is spent and forgiven by the children of officials.”
The next example is related to the burdensome situation of the retirees in Iran, as the state-run daily Gostaresh News on January 27 admitted: “A sum of money was taken from Shasta (Iran’s Social Security Investment Company), and this was apparently given to the national team coach, and this number, which was the money of the retirees, by order of the First Vice President to give the debts of the Ministry of Sports and Youth in some way.”
The next example is the regime’s proxy forces. Former member of parliament Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh on May 20, 2020 said: “We gave 20 to 30 billion dollars to Syria.”
And the last example was given by the regime’s parliament speaker Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf as he said: “When the country has $100 billion in revenue, we have inflation and high costs, and our oppressed people become weaker, and speculators, rent-seekers, and profiteers get fatter. When the country earns $15 billion, we still have inflation and high prices, again, rent-seekers become fatter, the underprivileged become more and weaker. This is the fact.”