On Wednesday, December 16, Iranian nurses, employees, workers, and other people from different walks of life held at least six protests, demanding their fundamental rights. Paying their arrears and delayed salaries was the main demand urged by protesters. Employees, workers, and particularly nurses are working while many of them have not received their meager salaries and pensions for months.
Rally by Employees of Telecommunications Company in Northwestern Iran
In East Azerbaijan province, employees of telecommunications company held a rally, protesting employers’ refusal to extend the contract of private sector staff. Not extending the contract would leave 106 employees unemployed.
To decrease the government’s expenditures, Iranian officials allocated parts of the state-backed companies to the private sector. In practice, officials granted some of the country’s assets to their family members under the excuse of privatization.
The employees who work in the private sector lack legal support and employers easily can terminate their contract. This dilemma is not limited to this province or telecommunications companies. For months, many employees and workers protested over the government’s failure at privatization that led working families to more poverty and hardship. The lack of job security, insurance, and other pensions have pushed many families below the poverty line.
Locals Protest Against the Shutdown of Bank
In Isfahan province, central Iran, local people in the Karvan district of the city of Asgaran held a rally, protesting the shutdown of the district’s sole bank. “This is Keshavarzi [agricultural] bank, which is shut down around two months. Coronavirus just harmed Keshavarzi bank because officials are destroying farmers anyway,” a protester said.
According to locals, there is no bank for another 60 km, and retirees and pensioners must travel long distances. “My problem is Keshavarzi bank that has been shut down for two months. This means that all our 60-year-old people and all old men, who receive pensions from the Rehabilitation Organization, must travel an 80-90 km distance for a bank. Because there is no state bank within a 60 km radius. It is not true that I travel 20-30 km because they do not give services to the people,” an old man said.
Rally by Municipal Workers of Omidiyeh City
In Khuzestan province, southwestern Iran, employees and workers of Omidiyeh municipality held a rally, protesting officials for not paying their salaries and pensions for months.
“For eight months, we have not received our paycheck, rewards, and severance pay. We have arrears,” said a worker.
“What has our family done wrong? What will the governor do if he does not receive his salary for eight months? We do not work till take back our rights,” another protesting worker said.
Rally by Nazarabad Villagers in Front of Governorate
In Sistan and Baluchestan province, southeastern Iran, on December 15, elderly and influential people, and the family of the late Khadijeh Dahani held a protesting rally in front of the Rask governorate. Two days earlier, the State Security Forces (SSF) had run over an Iranian Baluch woman causing her tragic death.
According to human rights activists, Baluch women had held a rally to prevent the SSF from impounding and transferring merchants’ vehicles. They protested against the arbitrary detention of merchants. In response, the SSF cruelly ran over protesters and injured Khadijeh Dahani. She, unfortunately, lost her life in the hospital due to the severity of her injuries.
At the time, Mrs. Dahani was returning from a wedding ceremony. They faced border guards who had stopped and tried to impound the poor drivers’ vehicles, which prompted this family to protest. The guards, however, opened fire on Dahani’s car. Then, when this family exited the car, the SSF attacked and ran over Mrs. Dahani in front of her children.
In Sistan and Baluchestan province, local people face additional pressures and systematic discrimination due to the ayatollahs’ sectarian beliefs. Many young people had to leave their education and struggle to make ends meet. For instance, people transfer objects and goods with their private vehicles. However, the SSF target and kill them under the excuse of “counter-trafficking” measures. In the past week, three young men were gunned down while they were carrying out some fuel.
Protest by Healthcare Workers
In Alborz province, west of Tehran, the healthcare personnel of Karaj Khomeini hospital held a rally on the facility’s grounds, protesting officials for not paying their salaries and pensions. “We would not be relaxed until receiving our salaries,” protesters chanted.
“The personnel of Karaj Khomeini hospital have not received their salaries and pensions for four years. Therefore, we held a gathering in the hospital’s yard,” said a healthcare worker.
Rally by Sugarcane Factory Workers
In Kohgiluyeh and Boyer Ahmad province, southern Iran, a group of employees and workers of Yasuj Sugarcane factory held a rally on December 16. They protested the non-reopening of the factory and demanded to return to work as soon as possible.
“Despite reclaiming the factory from the private sector, the factory’s activities have not started, and workers await a return to work,” workers said. Recently, workers managed to undo the illegal allocation of the factory to the private sector and reclaim it.
“It was thought that after reclaiming the factory, the employers would immediately activate the facility by recruiting its former workers and employees. However, despite the workers’ living pressure, this issue has yet to be carried out,” the workers said.