Reporting by PMOI/MEK
Iran, December 22, 2020—Over the past week, various cities across Iran have witnessed dozens of strikes and demonstrations by workers and low-wage earners, protesting months-overdue salaries, lack of insurance, and other problems.
Among these protest movements is the strike of workers of Iran Khodro (IKCO, an Iranian automaker). On Thursday, December 17, the workers of Iran Khodro assembly hall in Khorasan Razavi province stopped working for hours.
The workers’ protest has taken place due to the increase in working hours and excessive fatigue. The workers tried to negotiate to reduce working hours, but authorities refrained from meeting their demands.
"The employer has added two hours of overtime for workers in hard and harmful jobs to increase the production," the protesting workers said.
"Workers in hard and harmful jobs should work 36 hours instead of 44 hours a week while we, the assembly hall workers, work eight hours a day instead of six," they added.
The workers said: "The company has put extra pressure on workers in recent months to increase production. Long working hours can increase the risk of accidents in factories and reduce workers' sensitivity to hygiene issues at the workplace."
Regarding their working conditions during the Covid-19 outbreak, the workers said: "The minimum expectation was that the employer would reduce the working hours following the outbreak of Covid-19. Internal managers and supervisors are not willing to do so without legal mandates."
“We do not want any damage to our workplace and the employer must respect workers' rights,” they added.
Strike by bus drivers in northwest Iran
Strike by bus drivers in Urmia
Bus drivers in the city of Urmia, northwest Iran, went on strike protesting officials’ refusing to deposit the workers’ insurance payments and giving hollow promises.
These bus drivers gathered in front of Urmia municipality.
"We are tired of the officials’ promises (Bus Transportation organization), because the supplementary insurance and oil, tires and other facilities were supposed to be paid by the end of November. But not only this did not happen, but they also talk to the bus drivers with arrogance,” one of the protesting drivers said.
“Since the Covid-19 outbreak, the number of passengers has dropped by 50 percent, which has had a serious impact on drivers' incomes,” he added.
“People are less likely to get on buses, fearing contracting the virus, therefore, due to the high maintenance cost of buses, it is not cost-effective to work in these conditions,” said another bus driver.
“With the hike in the price of spare parts, there is a double pressure on drivers and the officials should pay attention to this important issue by providing support facilities,” he added.
Protest and strikes in Khuzestan and Mashhad
Protest rally by sewage workers in Khuzestan
On Sunday, December 20, the workers of Khuzestan rural water and sewage systems continued their strike, protesting their insurance premiums and paychecks being delayed and their job status remaining in limbo, in front of the company building.
Protest rally by railway workers in Mashhad
On Saturday, December 19, a group of railway workers and their families in the city of Mashhad, northeast Iran, held a protest rally.
They protesters say that due to the Covid-19 outbreak, even the bus and city train fleets have been shut down, but there are still trains coming and going from cities near and far. Some travel companies that want to minimize their losses have forced workers to continue working, and if the workers protest, they will be laid off.