Press release – Iranian workers demand action on labour rights

2nd January 2024For immediate use

The Committee for the Defence of the Iranian People’s Rights (CODIR) has called for the international trade union movement to back the calls of Iranian workers in their struggles for improved recognition, pay and labour rights.

The strike wave and industrial action which has been a feature of life in Iran for the past two years continues to escalate into 2024. At the end of December, after 8 days of strike action, the workers of the Iran National Steel Industrial Group (INSIG) in Ahvaz, in the south of Iran, decided to go back to work after they were promised that the employer would implement the Job Classification Act (JCA) at their workplace.

Without job classifications, workers can work full-time for years and be held in precarious temporary positions while being paid at varied rates, even while doing the same work. In particular, workers at the INSIG work in an environment where the employer can at any moment deprive them of the right to make a living by simply disabling their entry cards. Workers live with the constant stress of becoming unemployed.

That the majority of wage earners in Iran are not covered by the JCA, and that their jobs remain unclassified, has become the status quo in Iran. In the past three decades, there have been thousands of spontaneous protests, strikes, sit-ins, and work stoppages in various economic sectors, from education, healthcare, and transportation to agriculture, automotive, energy, and steel industries, aimed at forcing the government to meet its obligations under the JCA.

The recent strike at the INSIG-Ahvaz is the result of several years of struggle for which the workers have paid a heavy price. Workers have sustained their fight in the face of intimidation and ongoing government propaganda. The right to demand job classification is the key to future struggles of Iranian workers. Workers know that without job classification their job security will continue to deteriorate. They continue to demand that they should be placed in their real job positions according to experience and qualification because they have invested time, effort and finance to acquire specialist skills.

CODIR General Secretary, Gawain Little, expressed outrage that workers in Iran are not even able to access these most basic rights.

“February this year will see the 50th anniversary of the passage of the JCA through the Iranian Parliament”, said Mr Little, “yet the Act has not yet been fully implemented in Iran as the regime sees maintaining economic uncertainty amongst the workforce as a higher priority than achieving fair pay and improved working conditions.”

The level of discontent in Iran can be measured in part by the wide range of strike action which is affecting all parts of the economy. Protests and strikes directed against the government by steelworkers, nurses and retirees are continuing across Iran, citing plunging living standards, government corruption and state oppression as the main areas of concern

.In December, telecommunication retirees in 15 provinces protested outside the state-run Telecommunication Company’s offices. Other retirees, including former oil workers, teachers and other former public sector workers, also protested in many towns and cities. Goldsmiths in Tehran and Hamadan have been on strike to protest an increase in taxes, joining other goldsmiths across Iran.

In pledging the support of CODIR for the struggles of Iranian workers Gawain Little emphasised the scale of the present strike wave.

“Such open opposition to the regime in Iran, as expressed through the present strike movement, is unprecedented in the forty years of the Islamic Republic”, he said. “Workers in the industrial, public and private sectors are combining to demand better terms and conditions but also express their dissatisfaction with the regime itself, adding a whole new dimension to the protests.”

The position of Iranian workers is further exacerbated by the state of the economy. According to the government-run news agency, IRNA, inflation has risen to 250 per cent in the past two years, massively impoverishing workers. Iran’s economic problems have been made worse by the ongoing sanctions imposed by the United States. In addition. Iran is increasingly in danger of being drawn into wider regional conflicts, not least the continuing Israeli genocide in Gaza.

CODIR has called for all forces supporting the struggle for trade unions, and human and democratic rights in Iran, to support the demands of Iranian workers through issuing statements of solidarity.

CODIR requests that trade union affiliates write to the embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran (Please see below for the address) to make clear their opposition to the lack of implementation of the Job Classification Act and demand that the Iranian government takes steps to translate the articles of the Act into action.

Mr. Seyed Mahdi Hosseini Matin, Ambassador

Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran

16 Princes Gate




CODIR is also asking for individuals to write to their local MP, drawing their attention to the worsening situation inside Iran and requesting that they write to the embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran on similar grounds, as well as using their platform in Parliament, to draw attention to the plight of the people of Iran.


Further information for Editors

Contact Information for CODIR:

Postal Address:

Further information on CODIR

CODIR is the Committee for the Defence of the Iranian People’s Rights. It has been established since 1981 and has consistently campaigned to expose human rights abuses in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

CODIR has worked closely with the trade union movement in the UK, the peace movement, all major political parties and Amnesty International to press the case for an end to torture in Iran’s prisons. Major trade unions in Britain are affiliated with CODIR and support its campaign for peace, human and democratic rights, and social justice in Iran.

CODIR has published Iran Today, its quarterly journal, since 1981, explaining the latest developments in Iran and the most effective way that the British public opinion could demonstrate its solidarity with the people of Iran.

In recent years CODIR has worked closely with Stop the War Coalition and has been vocal against any form of foreign intervention in the internal affairs of the nation.


Central Executive Council


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