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Rampant Wage Thefts Reaching Epidemic Levels in Iran

Rampant Wage Thefts are not a new phenomena in Iran. The list of production facilities where workers have not received their wages in months goes on and on.

Naghshe Iran Carpet Weaving workers in Qazvin are reported to not have received wages and benefits for the past 18 months.

Khuzestan Pipe Factory workers have not received wages for 15 months. According to 600 workers at the factory, there are no production and sales problems at the plant but instability of the management and the ownership has caused difficulties and uncertainties.

Iran Telecommunication Industries workers have not received any wages for the last four months. There are 700 workers at ITI which is facing various difficulties since privatizations of early 2000′s. The workers received about 300 US dollars each for the 14 months of their past wages dues about four months ago.

Shargh newspaper employees are reported to not have received wages for the past two months.

BRT rapid city transit workers in Tehran complain of not receiving wages in three months.

Talia mobile telephone company workers say that they have only received one month wages.

And the list goes on and on.

While many facilities are denying workers wages for months, in some cases, the delays now are in years, Khuzestan Pipe being one such case. Ali, a worker at Khuzestan Pipe factory, has given an interview with Radio Farda, Radio Liberty, the text of which is translated by Iran Labor Report as follows:

On the reasons of wages denied,

Ali: We do not know ourselves, but they said that they would investigate and they told us that the company is on the verge of becoming public in two months. Two months have passed and now they tell us that they are after investors and it is on going. They constantly tell us today, this week, next week, we are holding meetings, we are looking into the accounts.

Radio Farda: What effects have this situation had on the workers lives, in other words, how do the 600 workers live without having received wages in 15 months?

Ali: It has affected us tremendously. But what are we to do? On the other hand, until recently they even refused to renew our medical registration cards and they were forced to renew them following workers protests and pressures.

Radio Farda: How do you make the ends meet in this situation?

Ali: Life has gotten extremely difficult for us even surviving on bread and cheese which Islamic Republic considers simple subsistence.

Radio Farda: Where do you think the main reasons lie?

Ali: The problems lie with the government, because ordinary people do not do such things. It all stems from the government.

When Ahmadinejad came to Khuzistan, we pressed our issues twice with him. Once, we wrote them on banners and took them to the arena where he was making his speech. He told us they will solve our problems. The second time when he came to town, we confronted him and he again said that he will solve our problems and he did not do anything for us.

Radio Farda: When you protested and Mr. Ahmadinejad said that he will look into the problem, did any government agencies contact the workers to resolve their issues?

Ali: No, no contacts were made. Even a government panel which is said to have come from Ahmadinejad claims that they have heard that the workers have received their wages but they are provocateurs and are protesting by the governors’ mansion for no reason. We told them why don’t you come to the company and talk with the workers? You are sitting in your offices and tell us that we have received our wages but we are rebels.

It is now 16 months that we have not received wages. Who should we tell this? The state and governor officials do not even let us in their offices. The city Friday Imam says there is nothing he can do and gives us a proverb that there is the fruit on the tree and mine is a short hand to pick it.

We have told the governor, the city and other officials about our problem and sent delegations there. We pressed the issue through our emissaries, we talked with the security forces generals to no avail.

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