The Islamic Republic “neither deserves to survive nor it is capable of surviving,” said Iran’s labour unions and civil rights organisations in their May Day statement on Sunday, expressing their support for the ongoing strikes and protests across the country.
Some 15 trade unions and rights groups said in the joint statement that the Iranian government “is not able to control rising prices and inflation even for a single week, and has plunged a community of 90 million people in a rich country into poverty and misery”, Iran International reported.
The protests that erupted in the country over the death of Jina Mahsa Amini in October 2022 after her detention by the morality police are still going strong despite the government’s harsh efforts to suppress it, and the country is also now witnessing large-scale strikes.
Workers in more than 100 factories laid down their tools last week in protest at poor working conditions, low wages and rising living costs. May Day came with strikes that have been going on since 22 April.
The Iranian authorities argue that the strikes are being organised by groups opposed to the regime. But the economic crisis in the country is deepening every day, and according to an official from the Iranian national trade union centre Workers’ House, the minimum wage of around $150 can only cover a family’s basic needs for nine days.
Iranian security forces on Friday arrested a group of teachers’ union activists in raids on their homes. At least 50 trades union activists in Tehran, Kurdistan and Gilan provinces were summoned to the courts on the eve of International Workers’ Day. According to the Hengaw Kurdish-Iranian human rights monitoring group, at least eight other trades union activists have been summoned to the courts in the western Kurdish city of Sanandaj.
More than 1,600 labour-related rallies and strikes were organised in Iran last year. The Iranian government sent dozens of activists to prison to suppress labour unrest.
The unions and rights groups who issued the joint statement called on the authorities to “immediately and unconditionally release all political prisoners” and end the “criminalisation of political, trade union and civil actions.”