On the 26th of January pensioners rallied in Tehran and other cities of Iran in front of the Labour Ministry and its offices. These rallies were organised by the Union of Pensioners of Iran, one of two independent and nationwide associations of retirees in the country, and saw pensioners paid by the Social Security Organization protesting simultaneously in at least 10 cities against poor living standards and demanding the implementation of the law on wage equalisation.
Article 30 of the Sixth Development Plan Law, in a section entitled “Equalisation,” obliges the government to increase the monthly pensions of retirees. The government has so far refused to implement the law, citing a budget deficit and the exhaustion of the public pension fund. Retirees currently receive about $114 a month, which under the new law should be increased by $34. This is while the poverty line of a family of four in Iran was about $380 a month in 2020.
The Union of Pensioners of Iran reported that hundreds of people took part in rallies held in Tehran, Karaj, Qazvin, Rasht, Tabriz, Sari, Khorramabad, Arak, Ilam, Ahvaz and several other cities despite the coronavirus epidemic. In Tabriz, one of the major Turk populated cities in northwestern Iran, the police attacked the protesting pensioners after a while and dispersed them violently. In addition to The Union of Pensioners of Iran, the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company issued a statement in support of pensioners’ rallies and condemned the police attack on the gathering in Tabriz.