Economic Woes and Rising Job Losses
With the start of the new Iranian year and prospects of further economic woes, the rate of plant closures and job losses have increased. With the second phase of the state economic subsidies cut program originally scheduled for June and the failure of the state to pay the declared subsidies for production facilities, the prospects for economic improvements are lessening. Many production facilities facing rising prices and strong competition from rampant imports have resorted to cost cutting measures and not renewing the contracts of their employees, many on temporary contracts, is of their first measures. The following are some of the reports on plant closures and layoffs.
According to Mohammad Goudarzi, the executive secretary of the Labor House in the city of Boroujerd, Lorestan tops the unemployment in the country and the city of Boroujerd has the highest unemployment in Lorestan. Goudarzi talked about 40,000 educated and eligible workforce in Boroujerd lacking jobs and more than half of the production facilities in the industrial city of Boroujerd being closed or on the verge of closure.
Separately, Goudarzi reported on 200 workers at Boroujerd Zagros Khodro, car plant, not having had their contracts renewed.
625 Shahab Khodro car plant workers have been laid off. Mohammad Heidari, general manager and the chairman of the board of Shahab Khodro resigned in protest to these lay offs. According to Heidari, “Razavi Holy Shrine Economic Organization, the owners of Shahab Khodro, laid off 625 workers recently. With my efforts, 75 could return to their work but I was not able to retain the rest of the employees.” He continued, “Thus, given the current situation and in protest to the firing of the personnel, from today I have resigned as the general manager and the head of the board of directors at Shahab Khodro”.
Davoud Mirkhani of Iran Car Production Association reported of difficulties in liquidities at Zamyad Van and the shut down at the plant for few days.
Sayyad Farhadi, the head of the Chemical Fertilizer Producers Association, talking with Iranian Labour News Agency (ILNA) reported of the closures of 325 production facilities in the last five years due to heavy imports by the administration and its lapse in meeting its obligations to producers in accordance with Subsidies Cut program. Farhadi talked of loss of 15,000 jobs in chemical fertilization production.
Gholamhossein Soltan Mohammadi, the deputy head of the Flower and Plant Producers Union, talking with ILNA, spoke of loss of 25 percent of the jobs in this area due to heavy imports in the course of the last year.
Mohmmad Kargar, head of the Fishermen’s Union, talking with ILNA, spoke of loss of forty percent of fishing jobs in the course of last year following the implementation of the state subsidies cut program.
200 Kermanshah Nazgol cooking oil plant workers lost their jobs due to shortage of raw materials and lack of funds. Many of these workers have been temporary and blank signature contract workers.
45 workers at Faraman Steel have lost their jobs due to production difficulties at the plant.
Lorestan Shirin Taam, a subsidiary of Vitana closed down and with it sixty workers lost their jobs.
ILNA has reported of closing down of Hamoun Cotton Plant in Zanjan and loss of seventy jobs. In addition, Iran Nakh cotton plant in Abhar industrial city has not renewed the contracts for seventy of its workers.
Varna Milk factory in Varamin has not renewed the contracts of 150 of its workers.
Acidsaz factory in Saveh Kaveh industrial city ceased operation and 50 workers lost their jobs. The closure has been attributed to environmental complaints on the acid producting plant.
Mohammad Reza Nourbakhsh, the head of the Mushroom Producers Co-op, talking with ILNA spoke of 18 percent reduction in production of mushrooms in the last year and closure of forty operations.
2000 seasonal sugar cane harvesting workers at Shushtar Karun Agri Industrial plants have lost their jobs.
Zyaran Meat Complex with 700 workers has ceased operation.
Ahvaz Pipe plant workers at plants 3 and 4, numbering 450, have not yet been called back to work since March 20 holiday plant closures.
50 temporary workers at Shahriar Shahre Darou workers, pharmaceutical and sanitary products manufacturer, have not had their contracts renewed following the spring holidays. Some of these workers have had thirteen years with Shahre Darou.
Kousar Pharmaceutical has not renewed its contracts for 100 workers.
More than 350 workers at Saghez Maadnoush Sugar factory have lost their jobs. 800 other workers have also had not their contracts renewed.
Nab Cooking Oil factory in Tehran has ceased operation and 200 workers have lost their jobs.
90 contract workers at Persian Gulf Metal Industries in Abhar Industrial City have not had their contracts renewed. Only 30 workers remain at the plant.
And the reports of closures and layoff continue.
Many workers working on temporary and blank-signature contracts are easily laid off by simply not having their contracts renewed. According to Fathollah Bayat, the head of Contract Workers Union, eighty five percent of workers in the country work on three month contracts in the production facilities.
According to Mehr News Agency, official records show that in the last six years, for every six to eight people employed, there has been one unemployed.