Iran’s manufacturing sector is in crisis, according to a veteran labor activist supported by the Islamic Republic’s establishment.
Hassan Sadeghi told state-run Iran Labor News Agency (ILNA) that Iran’s manufacturing is handicapped by outdated technology, adding that some technological processes used in Saudi Arabia are “forty years ahead of Iran.”
When an industry is this far behind on technology, Sadeghi argued, it is doomed to struggle with unending crises. Nearly 500 manufacturing plants across the country are facing such a crisis, Sadeghi said, and need “urgent assistance” to stay in business.
In addition to antiquated technology, lack of raw materials, logistical inefficiencies, as well as management complications are among the other problems Iran’s manufacturing plants face.
Of the 498 struggling units, about 20 percent are located in the cities of Shiraz and Zanjan. Qazvin, Tabriz, Saveh, Semnan, Shoushtar, Urmia, Neishabour, and Yazd are also home to beleaguered plants.
The difficulties in the sector have lead to insecurity for workers as well, with 98 percent of the workforce at these 498 units on temporary contracts, Sadeghi said.
Sadeghi, a senior member of officially recognized Khane-ye Kargar (The Labor House), questioned President Hassan Rouhani's claims of having created new jobs.
New jobs are created, Sadeghi admitted, noting, “But the president does not mention the hundreds of jobs that are lost at the same time.”
Sadeghi also said the government’s unemployment figures are skewed by it’s irregular definition of unemployment.
"The government believes that whoever works two hours a day should be counted as employed, but the people beg to differ," he said.
In the meantime, as Washington's sanctions imposed on Iran are biting deeper and the second batch are set to take effect November 4, Sadeghi predicts a more austere approach from the treasury, with little investment in economic growth in the coming months