About 1100 construction and petrochemical workers protest outside Iranian regime’s ‘parliament’

On Sunday, November 16, about 1000 construction workers protested outside the Iranian regime’s ‘parliament’. They were protesting against proposed changes to the social insurance law. Sacked workers from Ilam Petrochemicals were also protesting against unpaid wages and being fired.

According to the Iranian Labour News Agency (ILNA) the construction workers were protesting outside ‘parliament’ against proposed changes to the social insurance law that will reduce their rights. The number of workers insured will be cut massively, helping developers to boost their profits.

Workers have written to the Iranian regime’s ‘MPs’ protesting against the change to the social insurance law approved by the Health Commission of ‘parliament’. Under this plan there will effectively be no new building workers insured and 400,000 of those currently insured by the Social Security Organisation will also lose their insurance.

Dismissed workers of Ilam Petrochemicals

At the same time around a hundred sacked Ilam Petrochemicals workers gathered in front of ‘parliament’. They were demanding their back-pay and protesting against not being allowed to return to work by Ilam’s management – despite a ruling by the regime’s Labour Office allowing them back into the plant.

Ilam’s management are also not willing to pay the workers their back-pay. A sacked worker told ILNA that the boss is refusing to pay workers 50 million tomans (€14,925) in defiance of a ruling by the Justice Ministry.

This worker also pointed out that the Labour Office has ordered the boss to sign contracts directly with the dismissed workers. The workers are prepared to sign contracts with the sub-contractor only if their job security can be guaranteed. He added: “Of course, we will sign contract with the sub-contractor if the duration of the contract is not less than a year and our job security is not endangered if the sub-contractor is changed. The boss says he will sign a one-month, or at most 45-day, contract with us.”

Hossein-Ali Amiri, an Interior Ministry spokesman, said that peaceful protests by workers demanding the pay and rights are permissible unless they damage public security and order. During the next few months workers throughout Iran need to test how genuine this statement by a regime official really is.

Iranian Workers’ Solidarity Network

17 November 2014