Teachers in Iran strike over ‘poverty level’ wages

Out-of-control inflation and climbing prices have gripped the country. (Shutterstock)
Updated 17 October 2018
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Teachers in Iran strike over ‘poverty level’ wages

  • Teachers say their salaries are under pressure because of soaring prices and a severe drop in purchasing power because of the fall in value of the Iranian rial
  • Iran’s economy has been struggling in particular since May, when US President Donald Trump withdrew from the 2015 deal to curb Tehran’s nuclear program

JEDDAH: Protest strikes in Iran by truckers and bazaar storekeepers have spread to the country’s schools.

Thousands of teachers have been on strike for the past three days over what they describe as “poverty level” pay.

“In this land not only teachers but all should live in conditions fit for human beings,” striking teacher Jafar Ebrahimi told the Iranian website Meidaan. “They must raise our salaries above the poverty line.”

The strike was called by the Coordinating Council of Teachers Syndicates in Iran (CCTSI). Teachers say their salaries are under pressure because of soaring prices and a severe drop in purchasing power because of the fall in value of the Iranian rial.

Iran’s economy has been struggling in particular since May, when US President Donald Trump withdrew from the 2015 deal to curb Tehran’s nuclear program. Tough economic sanctions, relaxed under the deal, were reimposed in August. Further sanctions targeting Iran’s oil trade begin on Nov. 4.

“Out-of-control inflation and climbing prices have gripped the country, and the purchasing power of teachers, like that of many other hard-working classes, has fallen significantly,” the CCTSI said before the strike. 

“What’s more, the cost of education is on the rise, and the Iranian government and Parliament have failed to answer to teachers’ faltering quality of life and the ailing education system. The time has come for us to protest against this systemic disorder.”

Support for the striking teachers came from Maryam Rajavi, president of Iran’s exiled de facto opposition, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).

Rajavi urged the Iranian people, particularly the youth, to join her in solidarity with the teachers, the truck drivers and the bazaar merchants. Truckers in the northwestern province of Qazvin have been on strike for three weeks in protest at the cost of spare parts for their vehicles, and many storekeepers have closed their premises in support.

“Since anti-government demonstrations erupted throughout Iran in December, strikes have become a popular way for citizens of different walks of life and social classes to protest against the corruption and inefficiency of the Iranian regime,” the NCRI said.


UN hopes for meeting on Syria constitution by late December

US Deputy United Nations Ambassador Jonathan Cohen, left, address the UN Security Council after a report from UN chief mediator for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, shown center in a live video broadcast, on Monday, Nov. 19, 2018 at UN headquarters. (AP)
Updated 15 min ago
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UN hopes for meeting on Syria constitution by late December

  • Staffan de Mistura said the UN welcomes “constructive and moderate suggestions” to change the list of the disputed 50 members

NEW YORK: The UN is still aiming to send invitations to 150 Syrians by mid-December to participate in a committee that would draft a new constitution for Syria, which is key to holding elections and ending the country’s civil war, a UN envoy said on Monday.
Staffan de Mistura, the UN special envoy for Syria, told the Security Council that the UN also aims to hold the committee’s first meeting before Dec. 31.
But de Mistura said the Syrian regime is objecting to 50 members of the committee representing civil society, experts, independents, tribal leaders and women that he was authorized to put together at a Russian-hosted Syrian peace conference in Sochi on Jan. 30.
Under the Sochi agreement, the committee is to comprise 150 members. There is already agreement on the 50-member delegation from the regime and the 50-member delegation from the opposition.
But de Mistura warned that if there is no agreement on the remaining members, the UN may have to conclude that it is not possible to form a “credible and inclusive” constitutional committee at this stage.
He said the UN welcomes “constructive and moderate suggestions” to change the list of the disputed 50 members. But de Mistura said they must “maintain the same spirit of credibility, balance and international legitimacy,” and he stressed that the list cannot be filled with political leaders who are already represented.
The UN envoy said that at his last briefing to the Security Council in December “it will be my duty to explain where we are on the constitutional committee, and leave a clean and clear ground to my successor regarding it.”
De Mistura was supposed to step down at the end of December but UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Monday he will be staying on “for a bit longer” to make sure there is no gap “at an extremely critical time in the Syria talks.”