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Monthly Minimum Wage ‘Not Enough For 10 Days,’ Say Unions

Iranian workers on strike strike in Zanjan. File photo

In a joint statement, five Iranian trade unions have lambasted the current monthly minimum wage as “not enough to cover a family’s living expenses for ten days,” and demanded an increase to 50 million rials (roughly $1,050), which they say is in line with internationally recognized cost of living calculations.

The trade unions say $1,050 per month would be sufficient for the Minimum Expenditure Basket (MEB), defined by the United Nations as the goods a household requires to meet basic needs.

The current monthly minimum wage in Iran is roughly $200 per month and was set two years ago.

The statement was signed by the Iran Free Trade Union, the Trade Society of Kermanshah Metal and Electricity workers, the Painters Syndicate of Alborz province, the Center for Defenders of Labor Rights, and the Follow-up Committee for the establishment of independent trade unions.

The group of independent unions accused their public-sector counterparts, unions controlled by the government, of forcing a minimum wage far below the poverty line, and said this causes all workers to suffer.

Meanwhile the Ministry of Cooperatives’ Deputy for Labor Affairs Ahmad Moshirian said February 13 that a family of three and a half needs roughly $600, three times the current minimum wage, to cover its monthly expenditures and make ends meet.

The joint statement also pointed out that “The value of U.S. dollar in recent months has shown a more than 30 percent increase against the rial, which will have a negative impact on the spending power of Iranian laborers.”

The Union of Workers of Tehran and the Suburbs Bus Company (UWTSBC) and the Haft Tapeh Sugar Mill union have also declared that the minimum monthly wage for the workers should be raised to $1,050.

However, parliament has set the maximum increase for public sector employees, whose salaries influence private sector workers, at 20 percent in the next fiscal year beginning March 21, according to the Persian calendar.