With two weeks left to the Iranian New Year on March 21st, the teachers of Iran went on strike for a third time in a year! (Esfand, the last month of the year, normally sees an upsurge in strikes and protests by workers demanding higher wages and better bonuses in the forthcoming year.)
Teachers went on strike in Tehran, Mashhad, Esfahan, Karaj, Shiraz, Tabriz, Kermanshah, Rasht, Hamadan, Yazd, Qazvin, Abadan and many towns in various provinces, including Kurdistan, Fars and Mazandaran.
The Co-ordination Council of Teachers’ Trade Organisations of Iran organised this three-day sit-in strike (beginning on March 3rd) following the successful two-day sit-in in October 2018.
One of the main slogans of the striking teachers was: Free jailed teachers! The teachers demanded the release of Mohammad Habibi, Esmail Abdi, Mahmoud Beheshti, Ruhollah Mardani, Abdolreza Ghanbari, Mohammad Sani and Bakhtiar Arefi. All have been jailed for their trade union activities.
In addition to demanding free trade unions, the teachers called for a pay rise that lifts them out of poverty (given the rampant inflation) and better insurance coverage. The teachers are also concerned in the state of education in Iran, demanding a bigger education budget and implementation of Article 30 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran which guarantees free education.
The Co-ordination Council of Teachers’ Trade Organisations of Iran has said that if the teachers’ demands are not met then their protests will continue.
With more than 90,000 schools and one million teachers in Iran, these sit-in strikes are an important part of the continuing class struggle.
Shahrokh Zamani Action Campaign
5 March 2019