May 1, 2022: On the occasion of the International Workers’ Day, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran(NCRI), sent a message to the Iranian people and workers.
The full text of this message is as follows:
Iran’s rebellious workers will join the great army of freedom to bring down religious fascism, and replace it with liberty and equality
Iranian workers, farmers, and toilers!
Congratulations to all of you on International Workers’ Day, even though this occasion is overshadowed by Iranian workers’ suffering and blood. Nearly 800 workers died in work-related accidents last year. Farmers lost their eyes when Khamenei’s ruthless Revolutionary Guards fired at them to quell their uprising in Isfahan. Female workers, carpet weavers, peddlers, and paddy field workers suffer enormously from poverty, oppression, and homelessness.
Nevertheless, Iranian workers have turned International Workers’ Day into a promise for liberation from the clutches of the ruling tyrants through their courageous protests and strikes. With relentless demonstrations and strikes, Iran’s workers combined the glorious messages, motives, and aims of this day and the day of liberation.
I hail all the workers who have formed their Resistance Units to shatter the atmosphere of repression.
I salute Isfahan’s farmers who rose up!
I salute the workers who kept the flames of protests alight throughout the past year.
Those who are temporary hires in more than 100 oil and gas projects, refineries, petrochemical industries, and power plants. The workers of the Steel Company in Ahvaz, the Tractor Manufacturing Complex of Tabriz, the Miyan Ab Sugar Cane Company, Haft Tappeh Sugar Cane Factory, and Pars Paper. The hungry city workers in Khuzestan and other provinces. The retired pensioners who took to the streets every Sunday throughout the year and cried out against the mullahs’ plunder and oppression.
The Railways workers, the bus drivers of Tehran, Urmia, Mashhad, Kermanshah, thousands of workers in the construction, chemical, textile, food, and automotive industries, and the miners who endure unbearable pressures.
All of them say enough is enough; these conditions must change. Yes, it must change, and such great change will only be possible through the overthrow of the mullahs’ religious dictatorship.
The clerical regime and its anti-labor policies
Over the past year, the clerical regime has stepped up and escalated its anti-labor and unpopular policies in several areas:
The temporary hiring of the workforce has institutionalized job insecurity.
The suppression of daily wage earners has made the workforce cheaper.
The elimination of labor rules and regulations has provided a full opportunity for the exploitation of workers.
Leading the majority of workers and toilers to informal employment.
Dragging women into informal employment.
Devaluing the lives and existence of workers.
Maintaining and expanding contractor companies that pilfer the lion’s share of wages.
Preventing independent unions that are not affiliated with the state in the manufacturing sector.
And, laying off workers.
What Khamenei deceivingly calls the “resistance economy” is a two-pronged policy, which on the one hand, loots and accumulates people’s property and assets in his executive headquarters or other foundations run by him or the IRGC. On the other hand, it is extracting huge revenues from Iran’s cheap and oppressed workforce, destroying the lives of millions of toiling men and women. The wealth obtained in this manner is far greater than the wealth collected through other means by the mullahs’ predatory regime.
This double plunder, which is organized and codified in the clerical regime’s anti-Islamic policies, laws, and sharia, has caused a terrible destruction to Iran’s social fabric. The labor force across the country has suffered from chronic instability, job security has disappeared, and 95% of the working class has been forced to work without pay under temporary or blank-signed contracts.
Iranian workers on the altar of poverty
The minimum wage covers only one-third of the workers’ monthly expenses. According to state agencies in Iran, 13.5 million of the country’s 23 million work force have “informal jobs.” The wages of this massive population do not even compare to the officially approved minimum wage.
Seasonal and construction workers aside, even skilled workers have now been added to the ranks of minimum wage earners with the implementation of the so-called “agreed wage plan.” The mullahs and their criminal accomplices are trumpeting the lie that raising wages would lead to layoffs and more inflation.
They want workers to give in and be content with their current meager wages for fear of job losses and higher prices. Production units’ inability to pay salaries and the jump in inflation are due to the policies of Khamenei and his Revolutionary Guards. They have sacrificed the Iranian economy to preserve their rotten anachronistic rule.
According to economists, the share of wages in Iran is only 3% of the cost of goods. What is the cause of the bankruptcy of Iran’s industries and astronomical inflation? Is it the Iranian workers’ low wages or the clerical regime’s nuclear and missile programs, warmongering in the region, and insatiable craving for theft that have dried up Iran’s industry, agriculture, and environment?
Today, the whopping gap between the extravagant lives of regime affiliates and the lives of the poor who search for food in garbage bins is unprecedented in the contemporary world. Power-hungry and greedy rulers compel workers to perform forced labor (without being paid). They have also exploited more than seven million innocent children and adolescents.
Devaluating the workforce and eliminating labor regulations have victimized women the most and forced them to pursue occupations outside the scope of labor law. In this way, working women have been deprived of insurance and social and medical benefits. In addition, the low wages the regime has imposed on working women are many times lower than the official minimum wage.
Most of the jobs are within the economic sphere dominated by Khamenei’s foundations. The primary beneficiary is again Khamenei, his foundations, and the IRGC. One of the outcomes of this situation is a reduction in women’s economic participation rate, which fell to 12.8 percent last year.
In terms of social insurance, official regime sources say 60% of workers do not have social insurance. However, Khamenei, the parliament, and the government have tried to find more ways to cut off the workers’ social security. A few weeks ago, Khamenei announced general social security policies. Thus, the predatory foundations will dominate social security affairs and expand their exploitation in this area by the new guidelines.
The savage and cruel actions of the regime against workers is especially seen in devaluing the workers’ lives and turning their bodies and lives into disposable tools in high-risk environments. The mullahs have given a free hand to employers to brutally exploit workers without providing the simplest means of safety. Every time a worker is killed, they say, “It’s not a problem; We will pay for their loss.” According to the lowest estimates, about 10,000 workers suffer fatal accidents at work every year, and at least 60 of them die every month.
Moreover, at least 225 freight carriers and many oppressed fuel carriers were killed or wounded last year in Kermanshah, Kurdistan, and Sistan-va-Baluchestan when chased, attacked, and shot by the IRGC.
Under the mullahs’ rule, workers have been abandoned at the altar of poverty and death without any form of support. The solution is for them to rise up on their own and radically change the status quo.
Working brothers and sisters,
The clerical regime’s policy of suppressing workers and brutally exploiting them in various overt and covert ways is tied to its own survival. Distancing itself from this policy would deny the regime’s very existence.
The mullahs have the necessary financial resources to provide for the livelihood of workers and the entire Iranian society. But they spend these resources on the IRGC, war, repression, and the nuclear and missile programs to preserve their rule, which is characterized by ignorance, crimes, and pillage. They starve toiling workers and make them homeless to protect their regime. Of course, in doing so, they have created an enormous force that will fight and will overthrow their regime. This force has unleashed major uprisings in recent years and created Resistance Units.
Yes, Iran’s disgruntled and rebellious workers will join the great army of freedom to bring down religious fascism. They will replace the repression, plunder, and exploitation regime with liberty and equality.
Greetings to the workers and toilers of Iran