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Teachers in Iran Hold Protests for Better Pay Ahead of New School Year

Teachers protest Across Iran — September 2021
Teachers protest Across Iran — September 2021

The People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) recently reported that thousands of teachers and educators have held demonstrations against the Iranian regime in cities across Iran just as the new school year is about to begin.

So far, protest rallies have taken place in the cities of Tehran, East Azerbaijan, Khuzestan, Isfahan, Fars, Alborz, Kermanshah, Qom, Lorestan, Hormozgan, Ardabil, Kohgiluyeh & Boyer-Ahmad, Ilam, and Chaharmahal & Bakhtiari.

The MEK said, “The protesting teachers were chanting, ‘Teacher! Raise your voice and demand your rights!’ and ‘Where is the state TV, nobody listens to us’.”

Other protesters held large placards expressing demands, such as basic living needs. Among the slogans on these placards were, ‘Raise the teachers’ salaries to at least meet the poverty line!’ and ‘The poverty line is 120 million rials (about $437 per month) while our salary is 30 million rials (about $110 per month)’.

The MEK said, “The protesting teachers are also demanding regime authorities implement what is known as the ‘80 percent ranking plan’ regarding the teachers’ salaries.”

The Iranian Teachers Coordination Council explained in their new school year statement that the Iranian government are obliged to approve the initiative. Under this initiative, the legal bases for teachers’ wages will be at least 80% of faculty members salaries, as they should be receiving equal pay.

The MEK said, “A statement from the Iranian Teachers Coordination Council cited various such accounts of teachers taking their lives. The statement warned of the consequences of teachers enduring poor living conditions, adding that a teacher from the city of Neishabour in northeast Iran had committed suicide with a rice pill.”

The statement explained how a teacher in the Fars province took his own life last week because he didn’t have enough money in his bank account to be eligible to take out a loan. The amount needed to be eligible was 50 million rials, which equates roughly to $180.

On Sunday, Iranian teachers who have passed the education ministry’s employment test, known as ‘green report card teachers’, held their sixteenth consecutive day of protesting in Tehran in response to the regime refusing to give them employment. Many teachers travelled from across Iran to attend the rally in the capital.

The MEK said, “Despite the shortage of teachers across Iran, the Education Ministry refrains from employing any new teachers.”

The minimum annual salary for teachers in Iran is around 35 million rials, which roughly equates to 1,300 euros a year. In comparison, teachers in Ireland receive 30,000 euros each year, and they’re the lowest paid educators in Europe. Even so, their salaries are more than 23 times more than their Iranian counterparts.

Not only do Iranian teachers have to deal with low pay, but they regularly receive their salary with a delay, while a number of informal teachers only receive half of their expected pay. Despite numerous protests, the regime continues to neglect the teachers’ requests.

The MEK said, “Teachers have been protesting since last year, but the regime has refrained from addressing their demands. As the start of the academic year nears, Iranian teachers are in the streets yet again to resume their protests and remind the government of its duties.”