5000 workers and civil activists in Iran issued a statement calling for a renegotiation of the minimum wage decision announced by the government on April 9.
In detail, the Iranian government’s decision included an adjustment to workers ’salaries, as the minimum net monthly wage for the next 12 months would be just over 18 million riyals, equivalent to approximately $ 115, an increase of 21%.
This decision comes in light of the high prices and the high cost of living, as well as the high rate of inflation in the country significantly as it reached 50%, according to the Iranian Central Bank.
The statement of thousands of financial activists was saying setting the minimum wage without an agreement with union representatives was a violation of the law and negotiations should resume on the basis of 50 million riyals per month (or about $ 300), as the lowest amount a family of four would need to cover basic living expenses.
On the other hand, employers insist that they cannot afford an increase exceeding 15%, according to the Iranian Labor News Agency (ILNA), which interviewed some workers, quoting them as saying that this will not be sufficient to cover the cost of the food they consume, not to mention the payment of housing, clothing, travel, medical and educational expenses for their families.
High rate of inflation
According to Article 41 of the Iranian Labor Law, the Supreme Labor Council should set the minimum wage on an annual basis commensurate with the rate of inflation, and ensure that the minimum wage can cover the expenses of the ordinary family.
According to the Iranian Statistical Center, the cost of living for Iranian families increased by 64% between March 2019 and March 2020.
It is reported that in March 2019, the research center of the Iranian parliament set the poverty line in Iran at 34 million riyals, so according to the new minimum wage, workers will be citizens below the poverty line.
Double the minimum wage
The Supreme Council of Labor estimates the cost of living for the average family at 54 million riyals, equivalent to about $ 340 per month.
However, the Minister of Labor, Mohamed Shariatmadari, claimed that the minimum wage this year would be sufficient to cover the costs of a family of 3.3 people.
While Shariatmadari described the 21% increase in the minimum wage for those with the minimum wage as “positive”, the trade unions in Iran considered this increase as neither singing nor fattening hunger.
Iran has witnessed waves of protests and unrest since December 2017, with the largest uprising last November, during which up to 1500 people were killed by the security forces.