Iranians in the southwestern city of Behbahan held a gathering against the Persian Gulf Bid Boland Gas Refinery for not hiring locals.
The protesters gathered on Friday near the area where Friday prayers were being held in the city in the southwestern province of Khuzestan.
They said that the Bid Boland II Gas Refinery hired its work force from outside of the city rather than hire unemployed locals.
The protesters held placards which said, “We will go to prison rather than bow down”. Citing judicial charges brought against activists in the past, one placard read, “We are not instigators of public opinion and publishers of lies; we just want our rights; who will aid us?”
Before this, local activist Sarallah Shamsoddini was charged with “publishing lies to instigate public opinion” and was sentenced to two years of prison after the Bid Boland Gas Refinery pressed charges against for demanding that the refinery hire locals.
The report said that Shamsoddini participated in Friday’s gathering.
Locals have in the past held similar protests against unemployment, demanding to be hired by the Persian Gulf Bid Boland Gas Refinery.
Workers of the Gas Refinery have also protests several times demanding job security. The workers were told that they would be laid off after they finished their current projects.
Unemployment is a major problem in Iran as factories and business close down due to the economic crisis.
In a report on May 14, the state-run Emtiaz Daily said that “3,900,000 people born in the ’80s were unemployed”.
“According to the Ministry of Cooperatives, Labor and Social Welfare Center of Statistics, of the 8.16 million people born in the ’80s, about 4.7 million are employed while 3.9 million are unemployed,” the newspaper wrote.
According to the state-run Tasnim News Agency, a total of six million people are unemployed in Iran.
The Statistical Center of Iran has warned that the country’s average unemployment rate for young people aged 15-29 is more than twice as much as the country’s overall unemployment rate. According to the center’s report, the majority of unemployed young people are educated and have degrees from higher education institutions and universities.
“The rate of unemployment among our university graduates has increased. 40% of unemployed people are university graduates,” Omid Ali Parsa said in comments carried by the Revolutionary Guards Affiliated Tasnim news agency.