Iran’s Municipality Workers’ protests in January 2019

Iran’s Municipality Workers’ protests in January 2019

Under the mullahs rule, municipalities have morphed from an organ dedicated to serving the people to a center for usurpation. Astronomical embezzlements by regime’s leaders in the Tehran municipality have long been an open secret to the Iranian people and there is continuing dirty infighting amongst regime factions to control this apparatus.

During the reign of the mullahs, municipal services such as garbage collection, cleaning of the streets, irrigation of greenery, and public transportation have all been contracted away to regime’s factions whose first priority is plundering the budget of the municipalities. This has had two ominous consequences:

  • Firstly, ripping laborers of their due wages.
  • Secondly, due to the lack of efforts in building the necessary infrastructures and offering needed services, there are a tremendous amount of complaints directed at the municipalities.

Iranian people consider the municipalities amongst the most corrupt institutions where corruption is systemic, the main cause being the rampant corruption in the administrative and financial arms of these institutions. Complaints are directed to the justice bureau or the Islamic councils.

Delayed wages are now a systematic problem. As a result, in the past month, protests by municipal workers have erupted in various cities. The management put the blames on deficient financial resources caused by insufficient income or on contractors who are not paying up their workers.

In some cities, delay in monthly salaries have even surpassed one year. Some cities fire their workers by the end of their contract without paying them up, or on the pretext of: “we no longer require your services” due to the cold season. Thus the livelihood of thousands of workers in the municipalities is affected which have culminated into a crisis. Some of the employees have taken second jobs such as peddling, to make a living.

For a better picture of the dire condition of municipalities in Iran, we review Iran’s Municipality Workers’ protests in January 2019:

Iran’s Municipality Workers’ protests; January 1:

Protests of Iran’s municipality workers and their spouses at district 2 Nishapur (N.E.)

In the continuation of the protests of municipal workers of the 2nd district of Nishapur, a number of workers, along with their spouses, staged protest gatherings in different parts of the city.

At the first stage of the protests, the spouses of the workers waged their protest in front of the municipality’s building but received no answer, then the workers themselves gathered in protest by their working lot in Beheshti St.

Protest gathering of Tehran municipality contractors

A group of Tehran Municipality contractors gathered to protest against not receiving their wages in front of Tehran’s City Council.

Iran’s Municipality Workers’ protests; January 2:

Strike of the Municipality workers at Sarbandar (S.)

The municipal workers at Sarbandar who had gone on strike for several successive rounds in the past months due to overdue wages and benefits went on strike again.

Protest gathering by the workers of the municipality of Marivan (W.)

More than 200 workers of the Marivan municipality are in dire condition due to long-term unpaid wages. The municipality of Marivan contributes the problem to the lack of funds and budget, and puts the blame of the accumulated debts, on the former mayor.  

Iran’s Municipality Workers’ protests; January 6:

Protest gathering of Tehran municipality contractors

A group of Tehran Municipality contractors gathered to protest against not receiving their wages in front of Tehran’s Municipality building.

Iran’s Municipality Workers’ protests: January 8:

Protest gathering of Green Area workers in Dezful (S.E.)

Dezful municipality’s green space workers protested against overdue wages for several months and against a change in their employment status, in the city’s Rudband Square.

Gathering and strike of the employees of recycling and urban services of Choebdeh Municipality (S.W.)

Some frothy employees of recycling and urban services of Choebdeh Municipality (a county of Abadan) staged gathering and strike in front of the city’s municipality building for a number of days due to four months of unpaid salary and not receiving their benefits for six months.

Iran’s Municipality Workers’ protests; January 12:

Protest gathering by Abadan Municipality Workers

A group of Abadan municipality workers gathered in front of the city’s municipality to protest against the overdue wage for several months.

The workers declared at least three months of wage arrears as the reason for their gathering.

Shadegan (S.W.) Municipal Workers’ Protest gathering

A group of Shadegan municipality workers gathered in front of the city’s municipality to protest against eight-month of wage arrears.

Iran’s Municipality Workers’ protests; January 13:

Protest gathering of the employees of Central Municipality of Abadan (S.W.)

At least 100 employees of the central municipality of Abadan, staged a gathering in front of the municipality building, demanding their unpaid wages.

Protest gathering of permanent workers of the district 2, Nishapur Municipality

Following the pressure to change the status of their perennial contracts at district 2 of Nishapur’s municipality a group of workers gathered in front of the contractor’s office.

Iran’s Municipality Workers’ protests; January 14:

Protest gathering by Abadan municipality employees

Abadan municipality employees blocked the city’s municipality entrance gate, protesting several months of wage arrears.

Protest Gathering of municipality workers in Nishapur (N.W.), in front of the City Council building

On Sunday night (January 13, 2019) the workers of the 2nd district municipality of Nishapur, convened a 5-hour gathering in front of the City Council building, calling on its members to take the change in their employment status in to consideration.

Iran’s Municipality Workers’ protests; January 20:

Protest gathering of Tehran municipality contractors

A group of Tehran Municipality contractors gathered to protest against not receiving their wages (money) in front of Tehran’s City Council.

Protest gathering of municipal workers in Borujerd (W.)

The workers of Borujerd municipality referred to the municipality and city council for the second consecutive day to protest against nine months of their wage arrears.

Protest gathering of the workers of Lowshan Municipality

The workers of Lowshan Municipality stopped working and gathered in front of the municipality protesting against unpaid wages and insurance rights.

Iran’s Municipality Workers’ protests; January 21:

Protest by the workers of the municipality of Nishapur (N.E.)

Workers from the municipality of Nishapur, who have gathered for several times this month in front of the municipality building and contractor’s office in protest to turning their job contracts into an interim pact, announced, “Besides the problems that have arisen as the result of the contractor’s involvement in the service section in District 2, the municipality owes each worker up to 30.000.000 tomans, for working overtime and for the annual retirement bonuses.”    

Protest gathering of the workers of Lowshan Municipality

The workers of Lowshan Municipality staged a gathering to protest against eight months of their wage arrears.

Iran’s Municipality Workers’ protests; January 22:

Protest gathering of the workers and employees of the municipality of Marivan at the municipality compound

The Workers and employees of the Municipality of Marivan organized a protest gathering for receiving their wage arrears by setting up an empty table in front of the municipality’s building.

Bijar Municipality Workers’ protest gathering

The workers of Bijar Municipality stopped working and went on strike for a few days to protest against the non-payment of their overdue wages.

Protest gathering of Tehran municipality contractors

A group of Tehran Municipality contractors gathered to protest against not receiving their wages in front of Tehran’s City Council.

Protest gathering of municipal workers in Borujerd (W.)

The workers of Borujerd municipality gathered in front of the municipality’s central gate, for the fourth consecutive day in protest against nine months of their wage arrears.

Iran’s Municipality Workers’ protests; January 23:

Protest gathering of municipal workers in Borujerd (W.)

The workers of Borujerd municipality staged a protest gathering against nine months of their wage arrears for the fifth consecutive day.

Protest gathering of the workers and employees of the municipality of Marivan (W.)

The Workers and employees of the Municipality of Marivan staged a protest gathering for the second consecutive day in front of the municipality’s building, to receive their wage arrears.

Shadegan Municipal Workers’ Protest gathering

Shadegan municipality workers stopped working for the second time and demanded their wages.

Iran’s Municipality Workers’ protests; January 24:

Protest gathering of workers of the municipality of Marivan  

The Workers of the Municipality of Marivan organized a gathering in front of the municipality’s building to protest against their unpaid wages and set up an empty table there.

Iran’s Municipality Workers’ protests; January 26:

Protest gathering of workers of the municipality of Marivan

A group of the Workers of the Municipality of Marivan organized a gathering in front of the municipality’s building to protest against six months of unpaid wages.

On this day, the workers were faced with threats by the municipality and city council.

Iran’s Municipality Workers’ protests; January 27:

The continuation of the strike and protest by Marivan municipality workers

The workers of the municipality of Marivan continued to gather in front of the building of this institution.

The strike of the workers of the municipality of Marivan is due to the unpaid wages which caused the accumulation of garbage in the city.

The protest gathering of the workers of Kuraim municipality

Kuraim municipality workers in Ardebil province are not paid for four months. They have also not received any money for their overtime work for several months.

Iran’s Municipality Workers’ protests; January 28:

Daland Municipality workers’ protest

A group of workers of Daland Municipality, in Golestan Province, reported on at least four months of wage arrears.

Zarabad municipality workers’ protest in Sistan and Baluchestan Province

45 workers of Zarabad municipality in Sistan and Baluchestan province have seven months of wage arrears.

Iran’s Municipality Workers’ protests; January 29:

Protest gathering of green space contractors in Tabriz (N.W.)

Green space contractors staged a gathering to protest against the violation of their labor rights inside the municipality building, in front of the City Council’s members’ offices. 

The municipality workers have protested in at least ten cities during January. In some cities such as Abadan, Nishapur and Boroujerd, the protests have continued for 10 days. For example in the city of Boroujerd, workers staged protests in front of the city council and the municipality for 10 consecutive days. Boroujerd workers have not received any wages since summer.

Management in these cities confirmed delay in payment of wages but blamed the problem on stagnating construction work or delayed payments to the municipality by government or private sectors that have left the coffers empty causing in turn delays in payment of the wages.

In the city of Miandoab, in Western Azerbaijan Province, workers have not been paid for 10 months. The mayor has put the blame on its contractor for the work force and has subsequently cancelled the contract.

The situation in Khuzestan Province is worse compared to other parts of the country. Protests were staged for several days and protestors came to the city of Ahvaz and staged a sit-in in front of the governor’s building.

What is at the root of the problem?

The response of the management of municipalities and members of the city councils is almost unanimous: we are experiencing stagnation in construction, executive apparatuses have not paid their dues, and our budget has dwindled.

At times the blame is placed on the contractors who have not done their job in preparing the paperwork related to the work force. Contractors in turn blame the municipalities for labor protests.

Iran’s Municipality Workers' protests
Iran’s Municipality Workers’ protests

The spread of corruption in municipalities

From the start of the Fifth Development Program, several members of councils known as ‘Islamic Councils of Cities and Villages’ in various parts of the country were arrested and fired for financial embezzlement. Moreover, mayors of several cities have lost their jobs due to external pressures or their collaborations with contractors.

The situation is so grave that country’s General Inspector has named municipalities the most corrupt institutions in the executive branch due to the number of cases filed in the judiciary or supervisory sections. Hossein Ghalaji, the head of the department for Studies and Investigations on Combating Corruption in the General Inspection Organization, stated this past December: “65% of all cases filed in this organization in Persian year 1396 (from 20 March 2017 to  20 March 2018), relates to corruption in the municipalities.”

Previously, a poll showed that one in every three customers that refers to municipalities has ended up paying a bribe or was asked to pay a bribe.

This environment has been conducive to corruption by contractors who offer services or workforce to the municipalities. They have in effect formed a cartel with the municipalities where they offer services to fill their pockets with each party intent on keeping its counterpart to continue the lucrative business.

This report originally published in the Our Iran Persian

1 Comment
  1. علی حسینی says

    In Iran, all people have been oppressed by the mullahs

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