Iranian regime considers unleashing capitalist exploitation in Free and Special Economic Zones

The Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) is considering expanding the Free and Special Economic Zones and to exclude workers in them from its Labour Code’s limited safeguards.

The IRI’s Eleventh Government, headed by Hassan Rohani, and its Tenth Parliament have agreed that there should be seven new Free Trade-Industrial Zones and twelve new Special Economic Zones.

As part of this ‘job creation’ initiative even the very limited rights of workers that are covered in the IRI’s Labour Code will not apply to the Free and Special Economic Zones.

According to Ali Rabii, the IRI’s Minister of Labour, there are already seven million of Iran’s workers who because they work in small workshops and units with less than five workers get no protection under the Labour Code. That explains why estimates of people living below the poverty line are at least 15 million. Poverty is what awaits Iran’s 45 million workers and their families if such bills are put into effect.

Iran’s capitalists complain that 40 per cent of their costs are due to wages. So this ‘pro-business’ regime wants to help push this proportion down and open the way to still wilder forms of exploitation and degradation. Cheap workers will also make it more profitable to privatise the vast state sector and bring in much needed capital into crumbling and low-capacity industries at the expense of those who create the wealth in society

Shahrokh Zamani Action Campaign
31 July 2016

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