Thirteen municipal workers were detained in Kut Abdollah for taking strike action, the mayor of the southwestern city told state-run media on October 20.
Kut Abdollah Mayor Navab Saiedi told the ILNA state-run News Agency that around 13 people were detained upon complaints by contractors and that a number of them were municipal workers.
He was responding to reports on social media platforms about the arrest of workers who took strike action.
The mayor claimed that the people in question were “inciting municipal workers and prevented their day to day activities in an effort to force the city to hire them”.
The Mayor said that he did not know whether the workers were still in detention.
He said that the city’s municipal workers had just received their August wages and insurance.
Workers of the Kut Abdollah Municipality have taken strike action many times in the past few months to demand months of delayed paychecks.
According to one of the workers, despite their frequent inquiries about their delayed paychecks from the Mayor’s Office and the Khuzestan Governor’s Office, they still have not received their wages.
“The minimum wage is not enough to live on, but we don’t even receive our minimum wages,” the worker said.
Iranian state-run media recently said that the country’s basket of goods, more commonly known as the poverty line, has surpassed the 80 million rial mark (equal to around $690 according to unofficial exchange rates).
According to the October 8 report, the minimum wage of most workers in Iran was approved at 15 million rials by the Supreme Labor Council in March. In that time, officials claimed they had raised workers’ wages to half the poverty line. In less than six months, however, this amount dropped to less than one-fifth of the poverty line index.
Although protesting and taking strike action is their basic right, Iranian workers are systematically attacked, detained and sentenced to lengthy prison terms and even lashes for demanding their economic rights.
Most recently, workers of security forces beat and arrested dozens of AzarAb workers during peaceful protests in the western city of Arak on October 20.
Before that, HEPCO workers in Arak were also brutalized by the police for holding peaceful demonstrations against the privatization of the large heavy machinery factory.
Despite this, workers hold demonstrations and take strike action almost every day all over Iran to express their economic grievances.