Iran's Parliament Mulls Wage Hike for Teachers Holding Nationwide Strike

Iran has faced nearly continuous protests by workers in the past year over inflation exceeding 40 percent, high unemployment and mismanagement

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Iranians gather to protest the economy in the central city of Isfahan, in November.
Iranians gather to protest the economy in the central city of Isfahan, in November.Credit: Fatmeh Nasr / ISNR / AFP
Reuters
Reuters

The Iranian parliament debated legislation on Tuesday to raise the wages of elementary and secondary school teachers who have gone on a nationwide strike over low pay.

With an economy crippled by U.S. sanctions and now just recovering from the worst COVID-19 outbreak in the Middle East, Iran has faced nearly continuous protests by workers in the past year over inflation exceeding 40 percent, high unemployment and mismanagement.

Thousands of elementary and secondary school teachers held rallies in several cities on Monday, the third day of the walkout, also demanding the release of colleagues detained by police, according to Iranian news outlets and rights groups.

A crowd estimated at several hundred in the southern city of Shiraz chanted, "Arrested teachers must be released!". They read out the names of detained colleagues in a video carried by news websites.

A video posted on social media showed what appeared to be protesters chanting "Shame on you!" at police acting to break up a rally in front of parliament in the capital Tehran. Reuters could not independently verify the footage.

State television said the Islamic Republic's parliament on Tuesday approved part of a law that would guarantee teachers earn up to 80 percent of the salaries of university faculty members, one of their demands.

Lawmaker Alireza Monadi told an economic website that a teacher would earn a minimum of about 80 million rials ($267) per month if the legislation is enacted, compared with an average of around 60 million rials now.

Monadi told state TV that the legislation was likely to pass on Wednesday.

"I have no information how many were arrested but I will definitely follow up the cases of arrested teachers," Monadi, who heads parliament's education committee, told the semi-official Iranian Labour News Agency (ILNA).

Schools in more than 70 cities and towns in the country of 85 million people were affected on Sunday by the strike, according to the Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), which is based outside the country.

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