By Jubin Katiraie
Iranian railway workers in East and West Azerbaijan rallied in front of the Railway Company building on Thursday to protest wages delayed by two months. They had many other complaints following the privatization of the company, including refusal to pay their pensions and bonuses to the National Pension Organization.
Meanwhile, Shafa Rud Dam employees also went on strike over delayed wages in northern Iran, citing that the several months’ delay in payment has caused problems for their family, especially in the current crisis. They also spoke about their other outstanding demands.
Also on Thursday, 50 workers who were laid off from the Road Maintenance and Transportation Organization (RMTO) in Qazvin, northwest Iran, began a protest over being stuck in limbo with regard to their employment status and the difficulty they are experiencing.
One worker said: “According to the officials’ promise, the contract of the fired workers of Qazvin RMTO was to be extended by the end of 2020 and their delayed paychecks will be deposited to the account of the RMTO.”
The workers – laid off after toll booths were replaced with electronic devices in March – are unable to survive. They’ve repeatedly held protest rallies in Qazvin and Tehran.
While municipality workers from District 2 in Khorramabad, western Iran, gathered outside the local municipality building to protest officials’ refusal to pay their wages for several months and hollow promises made by officials. They say that they are missing eight months of wages from the year 2017-18 and five months from this year, with at least 170 workers affected.
One worker said: “Whenever we ask for our salary they keep on providing hollow promises and saying maybe today or tomorrow. We have not been paid for five months. We have struggled to provide basic necessities for our families, and with these low salaries, we are working from mornings to evenings during the coronavirus crisis. Unfortunately, no one listens to us and the problems still remained. I pay at least three to four million rials (about $130-175) a month in commuting fees. Since I have not been paid yet, I constantly borrow money from my sister and brother. I started to work, hoping that they would insure me and that I would receive a salary. However, given the current situation, I really have no choice but to work here.”
Another worker said: “We have had this problem of delayed paychecks for several years. We have not been paid for four months and we are living very difficult lives.”