Reports from inside Iran show that Iran’s economy is unraveling at great speed ahead of the crippling November US sanctions that will hit Iran’s oil and energy sector.
According to state-run media, companies are going bankrupt one after another while their workers are not being paid or are being laid off as a result of fluctuations in the foreign exchange market.
More than 500 factories face crises
Hassan Sadeghi, the head of a trade union cited 498 manufacturers in Iran that were in crisis adding that the “factories needed urgent aid and support”.
“The rest of the factories are also concerned about future crises,” he added in an interview with ILNA state-run News Agency yesterday.
The trade unionist said that the country’s factories were running on old technology and that they were behind some 40 years.
“For example right now, Saudi Arabia’s poly acrylic production line technology is 40 years ahead of ours, so it’s natural that our obsolete technology adds to the crisis,” he added.
“The (498) factories face problems such as lack of raw materials, management problems, lack of liquidity, lack of a healthy competitive environment, and a lack of available capacity to deliver goods to the market,” the labor activist said.
On October 30, ILNA News Agency quoted a trade unionist for tile factory workers as saying that the Irana Tile Factory had stopped its productions.
Officials just don’t care
“Officials are feigning sleep when it comes to the problems of factories because this is the cheapest option for them,” Azizeh Sharifi said citing the closure of tile and ceramic factories and the crisis that other factories faced.
“The manufacturer signs a contract for the purchase of raw materials, but only a few days before the delivery to the manufacturer, the vendor calls with a higher price, because for example the price of the toman to the dollar has gone from 8,000 to 10,000,” he added.
“Until our authorities take responsibility and until they start caring for the country, the situation will only get worse,” the labor activist said.
Sharifi also criticized the Iranian government’s financial aid to neighboring countries.
“The way the government is determined to solve the problems of neighboring countries, it is not determined to solve internal problems,” he said.
“If you know how to solve the problems of foreigners, then you can also solve internal problems, but why don’t you?! What I’m saying is that they have been promoted to the level of ‘perfect irresponsibility’ towards workers and manufacturers, and they only want the days to pass,” the trade unionist said.
Dairy price hike
The price hike of dairy products in Iran has also been the topic of many news headlines in Iran over the past few days.
According to the head of the Board of Directors of the Association of Dairy Farmers the high price of dairy products is due to the high price of raw materials.
“The cost of packaging and materials needed by factories has increased fourfold. As our expenses go up 2 to 3 times every day, so does the price of other products,” he said in an interview with ILNA today.
“The country is in a situation where prices are rising every day, and under such circumstances, the manufacturer cannot continue its work because it will have difficulty in procuring raw material,” Seyed Ahmad Moghadami added.
“The government cannot prevent price increases and cannot help manufacturers, but if the price of the product increases, manufacturers are blamed,” the head of the Daily Farmers Association said.
Many factories and manufacturers have not been able to pay the wages of their workers for months or sometimes a year. This is despite daily protests and strikes by laborers in various sectors.
Workers of the Pars Pamchal Chemical Factory in the Qazvin Industrial Town have not received their wages for seven months.
In addition to not receiving their wages, ILNA said that 15 workers were laid off two months ago.
According to workers at the factory, there are only 35 workers left in the chemical factory which manufactures paint and raw materials.
A worker who spoke with ILNA said that all of the workers were worried about job security.
“The most important problem of this factory is the lack of support of government officials in creating jobs and supporting the factory’s products,” the worker added.
“The last time the factory workers received their wages was for the month of March which was transferred to the workers’ bank accounts around 10 days ago,” he said.
Railroad workers in Islamshahr in Tehran have been on strike for the past week in protest to not having received their wages for months.
Railroad workers in Robat Karim, Karaj and Varamin refused to go to work on Wednesday while workers in the town of Shahroud are still on strike.
According to the workers, the Traverse Railroad Company is on the verge of bankruptcy and the company has not been able to pay its workers for the past two months and a half.
Farabi Petrochemical workers have also gone on strike for the past 10 days in protest to unpaid wages.
Workers say that promises that were made to them in the summer that issues with the procurement of raw materials would be solved and that the job classification plan would be implemented, were not kept.
There are also rumors going around that the petrochemical plant was going to be temporarily shut down because the procurement of raw material had reached a critical point.