A representative of an Iranian state-affiliated labor union said workers could not afford meat, rice, and legumes even if their wages were increased 100-fold.
“The price of meat, rice and legumes have increased in the past year in such a way that workers cannot afford any of them,” Hadi Abavi, the Head of the Workers’ Supreme Trade Union Association told the state-run Tasnim News Agency on February 9.
Abavi said he had reports of workers living in the outskirt of cities going to their local shops and asking for 1,000 tomans worth of cooking oil.
“The shop owner told them that 1,000 tomans worth of cooking oil would not even grease the bottom of their cups or dishes,” he added.
One dollar is currently trading at around 25,000 tomans.
Abavi criticized the governments’ disregard towards workers’ livelihood conditions, adding that the working class were currently living in “absolute poverty”.
On January 27, the Presidential Legal Affairs Department wrote a letter to the Head of the Social Security Organization, allowing salary changes for workers, if employers terminated their current contracts. On this condition, they can pay the same wages or less wages next year.
Abavi said the letter would “disrupt work relations.”
The letter also states that a legal increase in annual wages is not mandatory and the employer can easily terminate a contract with workers who have been working for 10 or 15 years.
The Head of the Workers’ Supreme Trade Union Association stressed that workers with 20 years of experience can be cast aside and receive minimum wage once this letter’s terms were brought to action.
“The government postpones the meetings for wages till the end of the (Persian) year, when inflation is at its lowest,” Abavi said, citing the government’s efforts to control rising inflation.
Before this, a representative of the Supreme Laborers’ Council, Mohammad Reza Tajik said in the new (Persian) year, wages must be set to compensate for workers’ delayed salaries.
“Current wages do not even cover food,” he added.
The Head of the Workers’ Supreme Trade Union Association said even if workers’ salaries were increased 100-fold, it would not solve the problem. “If you double the current 2.7 million toman ($104) wages it won’t cover workers’ expenses,” Abavi said.