While the USA and the West in general spend lots of time wringing their hands over Iran, and while many leftists speak out with hurrahs for the Islamic Republic, does anyone care what the actual situation is for workers in that Theocratic State.
A few do. They mostly concentrate on solidarity campaigns for imprisoned workers and organizers. That's good, but there is, of course, more to it then that.
President Hassan Rouhani promised shortly after his election to improve labor conditions for Iranian workers. Nothing happened. A few weeks ago in live remarks on state television, Rouhani said in Tehran that the government was prioritizing "job security (as a foundation for) creating jobs… and that it does not tolerate gender discrimination in the job market." Rouhani also promised better health insurance for workers.
The Islamic Regime of Iran despite of all its rhetoric against western powers has been actively implementing neoliberal economic policies for more than 25 years with devastating effects on the working class and the vast majority of the population. At present, around 90 percent of workers are in temporary work contracts. The minimum wage as set by the state is currently £120 per month while the Islamic regime defines the poverty line as £360. Factory closures and non or late payment of wages is widespread and subsidies on fuel, electricity, water and basic commodities such as bread has been cut, contributing to high inflation which stands, at 40% by official estimates.
Oh yeah, the Clerics had a large number of workers arrested on or before May Day.
Oh yeah, On May 1, workers of the urban bus system who had assembled in Tehran’s Azadi Square on the occasion of the workers’ day were attacked by regime’s suppressive forces and 23 of the workers were transferred to Evin Prison in a cage-type vehicle of the security forces after they had been battered and insulted.
Jailed workers and political prisoners face brutal conditions in Iranian lock ups. Many are right now (or have been) on hunger strikes (which receive little attention) here.
The State, the government, Capital does all it can to hinder and hassle, oppress and repress anyone and everyone trying to organize workers in Iran.
Recently Maryam Rajavie wrote,
The current deep and spreading economic crisis, whose first victims are workers and toilers, is the outcome of the infamous rule of mullahs that have spent Iran’s assets on the Revolutionary Guards, the terrorist Quds Force, war in Syria, meddling in Iraq, and their own untold plunder. Almost all Iranian workers are under the poverty line, they are denied job security, at least 70% of them are not even confident about receiving their salary, the workers’ minimum wage is so far from poverty line that has turned Iranian workers to one of the cheapest labor in the world. Workers are deprived from their justified rights in most aspects, there is no limit to their exploitation, and there are significant number of workers who had to sell their kidney to provide for their livelihood. More importantly, the women are further victimized by discharge, antihuman pressures and low wages. Also, three million child workers in Iran constitute a painful manifestation of the oppression of plunderers ruling Iran.
We all should be outraged over the treatment of the multitude and of Iranian workers by the regime. No progressive person should ever defend the regime as anti-imperialist or forward looking. This, of course, does not mean we would ever support USA intervention or that we can in any way support the USA policy toward Iran which is, of course, based purely on self interest.
The following historical analysis is from the International Alliance in Support of Workers in Iran.