On Sunday, retirees and pensioners of the Steel Fund held protest rallies in several cities across Iran. The protests were in response to poor living conditions and low wages, as well as the Iranian regime’s refusal to respond to their demands.
The protesters criticized the regime for their claim that they are simply following the Islamic doctrines of equality and justice, but at the same time, they are ignoring the basic rights of the Iranian people. Among their chants was, “We’ve seen no justice, just lies.”
The People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) said, “In the past year, retirees have been regularly organizing protests in multiple cities. The protesters complain that their meager pensions are not nearly enough to cover their most basic expenses and are often delayed for several months.”
Another cause of stress for the retirees is that the regime refuses to adjust their pensions in order to account for the rising inflation and the value drop of the national currency.
The Iranian economy has declined greatly due to the government’s destructive policies and their widespread corruption, and as a result, more and more people are being pushed further into poverty. In just the past few years, the Iranian national currency, the rial has lost more than 80 percent of its value, causing a huge spike in the prices of even basic goods in Iran.
The MEK said, “The regime’s response to the protests of pensioners has been violent, cracking down on their protests and arresting them, or ignoring their demands and refusing to take any action. Some of the protesters have been arrested and sentenced to prison and flogging.”
The pensioners’ protests follow the teachers’ protests that have been taking place in recent weeks. Rallies took place across Iran, with teachers and other educators’ protesting for better living conditions and pay, and their basic rights.
The regime’s Center of Statistics has stated that Iran’s current inflation rate is 44.4 percent, and the Labor Ministry has worked out that the average price of food and basic goods has increased in the past year alone by at least 83 percent.
In another protest rally that took place on Sunday, a group of workers from the Khoy Communication Company held a demonstration after they were prevented from entering the building by the company’s security. Over 40 workers were demanding that their contracts should be revised and their salaries should be raised, in accordance with the company’s work classification laws.
Rather than address their demands, the company has decided to suspend their contracts and prevent them from coming to work. Warnings have been issued to the workers that if they do not back down from their demands, they will be fired.
Employees of the Qom Province Health Community have also held a protest rally outside of the local Medical Sciences University before marching towards the governor’s office.
The MEK said, “One of the protesters said that the employees have been deprived of their legal rights and have gathered to settle their contract status. These employees, who are employed through third-party contractors, are demanding job security and stable contracts.”
In their statement, the protester explained that despite them having worked in the company for between 5 and 10 years, their contract status has yet to be improved, even though they have been working full time since the coronavirus outbreak in Iran began.
In comments from another protester, they urged that employees are terrified that they are at risk of losing their jobs and stated, “We’ve been working under stressful conditions and unequal pay for years. We’ve lost some of our colleagues, but there is still no improvement to our work status.”