Teachers in Iran Get Low Wages, Live under Poverty Line

Escalation by Demonstrating Teachers Continues in Iran
1- Part of the teachers’ gatherings in Tehran

Thousands of teachers protested in over 100 cities in Iran in December against dire conditions and low and unpaid wages that force them to live below the poverty line.

Earlier in November, farmers and local residents in Iran’s Isfahan city protested against the severe water shortage that threatened their livelihoods.

Teachers’ Demands

There are more than one million teachers in Iran, constituting the largest number of public sector employees.

The dreadful economic situation in the country, including rampant inflation, hike in prices, and the lack of a minimum wage and benefits, have put teachers, like the majority of Iranian workers, under severe pressure, prompting them to protest to meet their needs.

However, the government does not respond to their demands. Rather,, it uses repression means and arrests and intimidates them.

According to the available statistics, the poverty line was estimated in August at 100 million rials (about $400).  Meanwhile, the average teacher’s salary ranges between 38 million rials (equivalent to $140) and 5.8 million rials (equivalent to $210). These figures indicate that the teachers’ salaries are close to half the poverty line in the country. This gap is rapidly increasing with the surge in inflation rates.

Protests in more than 200 cities and neighborhoods

In early December, Iranian teachers organized four days of nationwide protests to meet their demands.

They protested at a sit-in on Dec. 9 and 10 before holding protest rallies on Dec. 11 with retired teachers in more than 200 neighborhoods and cities in at least 30 provinces.

Among the chanted slogans are “Teachers are demonstrating to end discrimination,” “Strike and rally, unions are our inalienable rights” and “Release the detained teachers.”

The regime’s security forces attacked teachers who gathered in front of the parliament building in Tehran, fearing they could lose control of the demonstrations.

Promise a slight salary increase

Iran’s parliament passed legislation on December 15 to raise teachers’ salaries following several days of nationwide protests. However, the raise is still considered slight compared to the rate of inflation, and teachers are still living under the poverty line.

Regime officials say there are insufficient funds to be spent on teachers’ salaries.

President Ebrahim Raisi submitted his proposed budget to parliament for the Iranian year 2022/23, which begins on March 20, raising the funds allocated to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) by 2.5 times.

Iranian teachers demand that their salaries be at least proportional to the poverty line to cover their expenses.

They demand the mullahs’ regime, which wastes the nation’s wealth on its mercenaries in Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq, to increase the budget of the IRGC to ensure teachers receive the minimum wage and benefits.

Calls for Protests Continue

The Coordinating Council of Teachers Syndicates in Iran (CCTSI) once again called for a nationwide protest on Dec. 23. Thousands of teachers answered the call and protests broke out in more than 100 cities across Iran.

Intelligence and security agents had summoned many teachers and warned them against staging protests. They also sent text messages to teachers, warning them against participating in the protest gathering.

In Tehran, the State Security Force attempted to disperse teachers at the metro station exits, but they managed to meet together. Thousands gathered outside the Planning and Budget Organization and chanted: “Release all imprisoned teachers” and “Release all political prisoners.”

In Shiraz, the capital of Fars southern province, thousands of teachers defied the heavy deployment of security forces and chanted, “you (are) shameless.”

In the northeastern city of Mashhad, the second-largest city in Iran, security forces tried to disperse protesting teachers using pepper spray, but to no avail.

After four decades of violence and repression, the mullahs’ regime security forces seemed passive in the face of protesters’ will.

Since rising to power, the regime has accumulated the problems by ignoring people’s demands and responding to their needs with firearms, torture, and imprisonment.

Today, the Iranian people and teachers have nothing to lose, so they are fearless. They return to the streets every day despite the heavy presence of security forces, the regime's constant threats to arrest and harass protesters, and the rapid spread of coronavirus, which has been exacerbated by the regime’s criminal policies.


Part of the teachers’ protests

Yes, the Iranians are the regime’s main “rival,” and this is a fact well-acknowledged by Khamenei and his regime.

President of the US-based National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) Maryam Rajavi hailed the protests.

“The protests manifest the determination of the Iranian people to overthrow the clerical regime, which is the main cause of oppression, corruption, unemployment, and poverty,” she said.

The teachers’ movement will carry on until their demands are met, Rajavi affirmed.

Demonstrations by teachers in Iran indicate that the uprising will continue across the country.


Mahdi Akabaei is a Member of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).

Related Articles