Iranian teachers take to the streets again to call for higher salaries and pension reform

Wage system linked to performance and experience expected to be put in place from March 31

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi presents the budget in December. The new wage system for Iranian teachers has taken about a decade to pass in parliament. EPA

Iranian teachers took to the streets once again in about 100 cities to call for higher salaries, pension reform and the payment of outstanding wages.

The protests were the latest in a series of demonstrations by public sector employees over the devastating impact of high inflation, largely due to mismanagement and crippling sanctions.

Reformist newspaper Etemad said teachers staged their protests on Saturday outside Tehran's parliament and in front of the education ministry's offices in provincial capitals such as Isfahan, Shiraz and Mashhad.

For several years, teachers have been asking the government to hasten the enactment of reforms linking salary increases to performance and experience.

Iran's parliament said last week that the new system, which has taken about a decade to pass, will be put in place at the start of the country's new year, which begins on March 21.

The teachers also demanded that their pensions be aligned with those of other public sector employees.

They called for the release of colleagues detained in earlier protests, including activist leaders, and chanted “The jailed teachers should be freed” and “From Tehran to Khorasan, teachers are in prison”.

Protesters said 15 teachers were arrested during clashes with security forces across the country, according to Etemad.

Spurred by devastating economic sanctions imposed since 2018 by the US, Iran's inflation has risen steeply to more than 40 per cent, raising the standard of living for public sector employees and others on fixed incomes.

Civil servants in one of Iran's most powerful sectors, the judiciary, held rare demonstrations in January as they called for their pay to be increased.

Updated: February 21, 2022, 7:18 AM
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