by Steve Sweeney
Morning Star | October 16, 2018
STRIKING teachers were arrested in Iran today as lessons were halted for the second day of a national strike over pay and for a fully funded education system.
Teachers were reportedly arrested in Mashhad and Saqez as the clerical regime clamped down on dissent, with almost all 35 provinces of Iran joining the strike action.
The Co-ordinating Council of the Trade Associations of Teachers in Iran called on all primary and secondary school teachers to report to the school offices on October 14 and 15 but refrain from attending the classroom.
They advised those on strike to inform the students of the reasons for the sit-in and to explain to them “our concerns as teachers, for a decent life for all and for children to enjoy a quality, free and fair education.”
Striking teachers are demanding increased pay to deal with the collapse in purchasing power due to Iran’s growing economic crisis which has seen inflation skyrocket.
The union warned salaries are so low that most teachers are living below the poverty line and complained over the constant refusal to implement job re-evaluation and subsequent pay rises.
They are pressing the Iranian government for increased funding for schools, with the education system in tatters and relying on donations.
Tehran has taken a hard line against leaders of the Iranian Teachers Trade Association over the past few years.
Esmail Abdi, Mahmoud Beheshti Langroudi, Mohsen Omrani and Mokhtar Asadi are among those currently serving long prison sentences for their trade union activities, having been branded as threats to national security.
However, despite the arrests and oppression, today’s action was well supported with reports that most schools across Iran were affected.
International Secretary of the Tudeh Party Navid Shomali told the Star: “The TPI supports the just and brave struggle of teachers and education workers in the country. The TPI stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the honourable and progressive teachers.
“The teachers’ struggle is part of a wider one called and waged by the people of Iran for the realisation of their just demands.
“This is an important campaign against the theocratic dictatorship and for the realisation of fundamental rights, democratic freedoms, social justice and also the livelihoods of our people under the current terrible conditions.”