Article from Shahrokh Zamani Action Campaign
On Thursday, December 23rd, teachers in over 100 towns and cities protested against low wages. Despite their union activists being summoned by the Iranian regime’s security agencies and told to cancel their planned demonstrations, the nationwide strike still went ahead.
Teachers and educators gathered in front of education departments in various towns and cities throughout Iran to continue their recent protests against the job classification scheme approved by the regime’s so-called ‘parliament’.
According to the Telegram channel of the Co-ordination Council of Teachers’ Trade Organisations, Thursday’s rally was held in “102 cities” and the rally in Tehran was held in Baharestan Square (where the regime’s ‘parliament’ is located). There was heavy riot police and security forces presence at the Tehran rally, where there was an attempt to disperse the male teachers by beating them, but a group of female teachers sat on the ground in front of police officers and preventing them from doing this.
In Shiraz, despite the presence of security forces around the building of the General Directorate of Education, teachers gathered in large numbers.
The teachers’ classification scheme was first presented to ‘parliament’ more than six years ago. At that time, ‘parliament’ decided to implement this plan in two stages. The first phase, although approved, was not implemented due to claims of a lack of funds in the annual budget!
On December 15, the Islamic Republic of Iran’s ‘parliament’ approved the teachers’ job classification scheme after a 14-year delay. According to this plan, a teacher’s minimum salary will be 8 million and 80 thousand tomans and the maximum about 16 million tomans ($3796). The plan was finally approved after months of nationwide protests by teachers, as well as the arrest and imprisonment of their union activists, with a deadline set by the teachers’ trade associations. But the teachers’ trade associations said the plan approved by ‘parliament’ was just a “lash up” and that teachers would continue to protest.
Teachers are demanding the full implementation of the teachers’ classification scheme law, which will equalise and improve the pay of teachers and educators. On December 14th, the Co-ordination Council of Teachers’ Trade Organisations announced in a statement that if ‘parliament’ did not approve the “real ranking and equalisation” scheme within five days and the arrested teachers are not released, the country’s teachers will continue their protests.
The job classification scheme is supposed to make it possible for teachers’ salaries to increase. According to this scheme, teachers’ pay will be set at 80% of the salaries of university faculty members.