By Mahdavi Nasim
IRAN FREEDOM, 24 April 2018-- Throughout the 20th century Iranian workers have always been at the forefront of social and political struggles, from the 1905 constitutional Revolution to 1979 and beyond. But, still the plight of Iranian workers has received no attention.
Since 39 years ago, the time of taking the power by the clerical regime, the Iranian workers have been waiting for an improvement in their dire conditions. Independent worker unions are banned, workers in the state-run companies have to wait months for wage arrears, laborers in the private sector work under unjustified conditions, and if unionists demand their rights, they receive respond with an iron fist.
Of course, Iranian regime pretends to be a religious democracy, acting in accordance with Islamic principles. In reality, the regime is a kleptocracy, where the rulers use their authority to plunder all the people particularly the workers.
But like all despotic regimes, the Iran regime feels threatened by any attempts demanding the basic rights of the citizens. The more time that passed from the 1979 revolution, the more the Iranian government has become scared.
In Iran, only Islamic Labor Council is recognized by the regime, which is not really representing the workers. This consul is a tripartite organization concluding the figures of the Ministry of labor, the employers and some selected workers based on their loyalties and religious affiliations to the government. As a result, they are inapt and impotent to deal with the demands and needs of Iranian workers.
Furthermore, according to the 2017 International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) Global Rights Index, any collective action by Iranian unionists “is repressed with violence and strikes are impeded by security forces, riot police, and the militia.
In Iran, women's job situation is much worse than men and they are severely discriminated against.
According to the Global Gender Gap Report 2016, the participation of women in the Iranian labor force was 17%. This means that Iranian women earned $4,963 on average each year, while Iranian men earned $29,468 in the same period. The report ranked countries on how close they are to eliminate the gender pay gap: Iran came 139th.
Discrimination against women in the labor market and opposition to women’s employment in Iran are rooted in the religious belief of the mullah’s. Discrimination against women in the Iranian labor market is based on the Mullahs’ believes on the idea which states “The man is head of household”.
On the other hand, the mullah’s rule prohibits women from obtaining some positions such as judgeship because of their supposed emotional nature. In short, gender equality is one of the fundamental global human rights. It should not be compromised to match the religious values of a particular society.
In Iran today, a number of union leaders are serving long prison sentences after organizing protests, on trumped-up charges like national security offenses.
Apparently, workers’ rights are human rights. “By criminalizing peaceful trade union activities and banning the formation of independent trade unions, the Iranian authorities are flagrantly violating their human rights obligations under international law.”
According to saying, “the darkest hour is just before the dawn”, the struggle in Iran intensifies. The bravery and commitment of those who follow the workers’ unions goals, inspires confidence and hope regarding the bright future, at the same time arouse respect.”
So we, all, must be committed to carrying the message and the voice of the Iranian workers, particularly the woman ones, to the international community by all means.
Mahdavi is an Author, Reporter, and Opposition Activist to the Iranian regime. He writes articles for http://www.iranfreedom.org/en/.