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Iranian Workers Stage Protests Over Nonpayment Of Wages

Workers in Tehran are continuing to stage protests against nonpayment of salaries that, in any case, do not keep pace with inflation, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.

The most recent such protest, reported by the ILNA agency, was in Tehran on January 24. Employees of the Pars Metal Company gathered in front of the Iranian parliament. They staged a similar gathering last summer in front of the presidential office after having not been paid for five months.

Workers say not only are they not paid on time, the money they do get does not go far enough.

The minimum wage for workers in Iran is pegged at 303,000 tomans (around $290) a month. Aziz Amoli, a member of the board of the Confederation of Iranian Employers, recently said wages might be increased by 15 percent in the new year that begins in March.

Amoli said the Supreme Labor Union will determine wages based on inflation as calculated by Iran's central bank. The inflation rate so far has held below 10 percent.

Ali, a worker in Tehran who has been employed for 20 years, told Radio Farda that workers have no job security in Iran. He said it’s difficult for unmarried workers to make ends meet, let alone those who are married with families.

Various labor unions, including the Tehran and Suburban Bus Drivers' Union, have criticized the low wages. They argue that given the poverty line in Iran, the monthly salary should be at least 1 million tomans (around $960).

Sweden-based economist Ahmad Alavi told Radio Farda that the poverty line will rise over the next year following the abolition of subsidies. He also said the inflation rate announced by state officials should not be used to determine wages.