Iranian bus drivers strike over low salaries as food prices spike

Protest brings parts of Tehran to a standstill

Strikes by bus drivers in Tehran seeking a 10 per cent wage increase brought parts of the city to a standstill on Monday. EPA
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Bus drivers in Iran's capital have walked off the job in protest over low salaries amid rising food prices and mounting economic pressures.

The action by drivers in Tehran, who are seeking a 10 per cent wage increase, brought parts of the city to a halt on Monday, local media reported.

Mayor Ali Reza Zakani met with Tehran Bus Company workers to address their salary concerns, semiofficial Iran’s Mehr news agency reported.

The strike disrupted two major north-south routes and halted bus services in the city, the Sharq newspaper reported. Many commuters opted to use the subway.

The bus drivers’ syndicate circulated footage of the strike on social media, showing drivers chanting for the mayor’s resignation and demanding a 10 per cent pay rise.

The union criticised the Intelligence Ministry for detaining one of its members last week.

Police were deploying hundreds of buses to offer alternative transportation to people affected by the strike, the semiofficial ISNA news agency reported. And officers were out in force at major thoroughfares and intersections across Tehran.

Teachers walk out of classes

Monday’s strike follows weeks of similar actions by teachers across Iran, who are calling for increased pay and better working conditions.

The move comes as Iran’s currency, the rial, shrinks in value and inflation surges.

Security forces arrested six people in connection with the teachers’ rallies in the southwestern city of Yasuj, the state-run IRIB news agency reported. The Intelligence Ministry also detained two French citizens, identified by the French government as a prominent teachers’ union official and her partner on vacation in Iran, for allegedly causing “chaos”.

Anger over Iran’s worsening economic conditions has mounted amid price hikes of dinner table staples as a result of a new government policy to amend the food subsidy system. Scattered protests have erupted in several provinces, with Iranian state-run media acknowledging around 20 arrests.

Updated: May 17, 2022, 5:36 AM