RFE/RL – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (Autor)
Teachers have held protests in several Iranian cities on May Day, which coincided with Teachers’ Day in Iran.
Ahead of the protests, the Iranian Teachers Trade Unions Coordination Council said authorities arrested at least four union activists in Tehran on April 30. Three other activists were reportedly arrested in the western city of Marivan, while a number were reportedly summoned in other cities.
Rallies were held on May 1 in more than a dozen cities, including Shiraz, Arak, Kermanshah, and Sanandaj, where teachers demanded better labor conditions and the release of their jailed colleagues.
In the southern port of Bushehr, reports said police reportedly used force against protesters and arrested at least six teachers who had joined the protests.
Teachers have in recent months taken to the streets on several occasions to protest their conditions and demand higher wages. They have also called on the government to speed up the implementation of reforms that would see their salaries better reflect their experience and performance.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on April 29 that Iranian workers are facing mounting economic and political challenges to realizing their labor rights.
The rights group said that, since March, Iranian authorities have increased their harassment of active members of the Iranian Teachers Trade Association, which has been leading nationwide protests for fair wages for the past three years.
“Iranian labor activists have been at the forefront of the struggle for the rights to free association and assembly in Iran, and they have paid a heavy price from government repression,” Tara Sepehri Far, senior Iran researcher at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement on April 29.
“Iranian authorities should recognize the rights of labor unions and engage in meaningful efforts to address the country’s mounting economic problems,” she added.
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