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Unclear Fate of Iran’s Temporary Workers

Iran’s temporary workers sitting on the street margin in the hope of finding a job

March 20 marked the end of the year 1399 in the Persian calendar. It was a breath-taking moment for many employees and laborers in Iran, especially whose working in the private sector.

The pivotal point of the news about the employees was the collective dismissal of reporters affiliated with the government who in the last two years were working in the online sections of these news agencies.

But what was not covered in the news was the non-approval of the temporary work contracts of the workers in the industrial section. And the dismissal of nurses who were working with a temporary 89-day contract. All of these is the result of the so-called ‘adaptive salary bill.’

Temporary contracts

In Iran since 1996, the situation was paved to allow employers to exploit the workers especially in private companies which are mostly under the control of Iran’s Revolutionary guard (IRGC). The advent of the law of temporary contracts belongs to 1996, which started with the vote of the Administrative Justice, referring to the legality of the temporary contracts.

The temporary contract of work is tantamount to the gradual death of the workforce. Without any outlook they are losing their lifetime in inflation, lack of safety in the workplace and the insecurity of the livelihood. This catastrophe is clearly included in the workflow in the labor law. Article 7 of the law of work says: ‘The work agreement is a written or oral contract, which, according to it the worker, conducts the work for a temporary term or an unobtrusive period for the employer, to receive a payment.’

In fact, lack of explicit work time in contracts has always given employers and successive governments a free hand to violate the rights of workers and of course their lives and livelihoods.

What are the devastating consequences of temporary contracts?

After making a contract of one, three, or six months or a year with the worker, on the time the payment settlement, at the best situation the employers could close a new contract. In this way, subjects like working experience, end of service bonus and the benefit of unemployment rights were not included and faced with hundreds of barriers.

In fact, workers who are expelled and enjoyed the temporary contracts, when referring to the branches of the Social Security Organization or the Ministry of Labor for the pension of their unemployment, face another procedure from the devastating depth of anti-labor bills against themselves and their livelihoods.

Wages that only cover 10 days of a worker’s life

Now how is the situation of underground manufacturing workers, service workers, workers of workshops with 10 people, 45 percent of whose population are women?

A primitive underground workshop in Iran, belonging to people on the margins of the cities

Add to all these and the insignificant wages of 2021, the minimum wages of the temporary contract. According to the letter of President Hassan Rouhani’s Legal Assistant, the CEO of the Social Security Organization was asked if the requirements of minimum wages were observed there is no need to increase wages. Allow the employer to make an “agreement” with the workers on their wages.

With this new legal law, the restrictions on employers are removed and they are able to not increase their workers’ wages with the alibi of stagnation or production crisis, or any other reason and an excuse. And no one can complain about this.

Now with a poverty line of 15.500 million tomans, Iran’s workers are entering the new year. The increase of inflation, and the turbulence in the housing market and the public transportation and the workers livestock basket, with these temporal wages, will increase the poverty rate and marginalization. A wage that will just cover 10 days of a worker’s life in Iran today.

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