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Thousands Of Labor And Civic Activists In Iran Demand Renegotiation Over Wages

Many workers in Iran earn the minimum wage amounting to $100 a month, while official estimates put the least monthly expenses at $300. Undated photo

Five thousand labor and civic activists in Iran have issued a statement demanding renegotiation over a minimum wage decision announced by the government on April 9.

According to the law, a tripartite commission of government officials, employers and workers should negotiate the minimum wage for workers and laborers every year. This year, the government and employers agreed on offering a 21 percent increase, which is just half the inflation rate in the country. Labor representatives rejected the offer, but a decision was announced nevertheless.

The statement by thousands of activists says setting the minimum wage without labor agreement is a violation and negotiations should resume. They demand talks based on 50,000 million rial monthly wage, which is determined to be the least amount a family of four would need to cover essential living expenses.

The amount demanded is a little over $300, based on the free market exchange rate, while what the government announced as minimum monthly wage is around $110.

The annual inflation rate is over 40 percent, as the national currency has lost its value more than fourfold in the past two years. Structural problems in Iran’s economy and tough sanctions imposed by the United States since 2018 are the main reasons for economic problems.

Iran has experienced waves of protests and unrest since December 2017, with the worst uprising last November during which up to 1,500 people were killed by security forces.