Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Hundreds march in Iran labour protest

TEHRAN (AFP) - Hundreds of Iranians took part on Tuesday in a demonstration in Tehran to mark labour day, accusing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's government of failing to improve their working conditions.

The workers converged on a stadium in central Tehran in the officially sanctioned demonstration to mark May Day but were dispersed by anti-riot police when the march moved out into the street, witnesses said.

"Some 600 workers demonstrated at the exit to the stadium and shouted slogans against the minister of labour," Mohammad Jahromi, the semi-official labour news agency Ilna reported.
"Incapable minister. Resign!", "Government, parliament, stop your slogans and act," and "Death to the oppressors", the protestors shouted, according to the agency.

Scuffles followed when anti-riot police dispersed the demonstration as people moved into the street outside the stadium, just south of Haft-e Tir Square, a major Tehran traffic nexus.
Witnesses told AFP that they hoisted a coffin symbolising their demands which the police then tried to break but the demonstration dispersed without any major clashes.
State television's main afternoon news bulletin also reported that hundreds of people took part in the march and broadcast comments from unnamed workers complaining about their conditions.

"We are pursuing the workers' legal demands. We expect the officials and the government to follow up on our demand," said one, while another fumed: "I have worked for 21 years and am now unemployed, what should I do?"
"This is the workers' situation: no job security, very low wages and numerous problems," said a third man.

Low-earning workers and civil servants in have been especially hard hit by a sharp rise in prices of staple foods and services over the past months.
Ahmadinejad rose to power in elections two years ago on the back of a wave of support from poorer sector of society generated by his promises to make all Iranians benefit from the country's oil wealth.

But the country continues to be dogged by low salaries and unemployment for its overwhelmingly youthful population.

A member of parliament's social commission, Moussal-Reza Servati, said earlier this week that the number of Iranians living under the poverty line had increased by 13 percent to 12 million -- more than one in seven people.

The demonstration came after hundreds of teachers held three protests outside Iran's parliament in April, resulting in the arrest of a dozen education union leaders from Tehran and the central city of Hamedan.

Iran's teachers are due to mark their national day on Wednesday and Ahmadinejad at a ceremony in Tehran called on the education ministry "to remove teachers' problems", state television reported.

1 comment:

Azarmehr said...

But Hanif Leilabi of Socialist Workers Party thinks the working class is so much better off since the revolution :))