A group of Iranian nurses from Tehran’s Khomeini Hospital staged a protest on July 30 over unpaid wages and the flawed implementation of the 2007 Nursing Tariff Act, another sign of growing anger among Iranian nurses over working conditions.

The nurses’ demands come after the recent warning by the head of the Iranian Nursing Organization, Mohammad Mirzabeygi, that while several large hospitals are opening, there is a marked shortage of nurses in the country.

At the center of the dispute is that the Nursing Tarriff Act, which regulates overtime nurses can work and as well as the benefits they receive, has yet to be implemented, according to the nurses and their representatives.

“The nursing law, approved by the Guardians Council and passed by the parliament about 15 years ago, has never been implemented,” the chairman of the board of the Mashhad Nursing System, Mohsen Gachpazan, said recently.

In a parallel development, retirees from the Social Security offices in Shush, Karun, and Haft Tappeh held a protest in front of the Shush district social security building on July 30 to call attention to their ongoing demands for pension increases in the face of sharply rising living costs.

The demonstrations by retirees comes after the government recently announced a decision to consolidate 18 different pension funds into one in an attempt to address a shortfall equivalent to $6 billion and rising.

For more than a decade, the Iranian government has been staving off the crisis in the pension funds through various measures such as allocating shares, transferring factories, and even gifting land to offset debts.

Despite these efforts, official reports indicate that out of the 18 pension funds in Iran, 17 were either bankrupt or teetering on the brink of bankruptcy.

Iran’s economy has been ravaged by U.S. sanctions, hitting budget revenues hard while also leading to a surge of protests countrywide. A sign of the difficult times faced by Iranians came in a recent report from the Labor Ministry, which showed that Iran’s poverty rate doubled in 2021, with one-third of the population living in “extreme poverty.”

Unrest has rattled Iran for more than a year in response to declining living standards, wage arrears, and a lack of welfare support. Labor law in Iran does not recognize the right of workers to form independent unions.

Adding to the dissent, the death in September of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in police custody for allegedly wearing a head scarf improperly breathed new life into the demonstrations, which officials across the country have tried to quell with harsh measures.

Source » rferl