The increase to the minimum wage for the new Iranian calendar year will be finally determined on Sunday March 15, but independent labour organizations say the maximum being considered is 20-22 percent, which is less than half of what is needed for workers to simply cover their living expenses.

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Two meetings of the Supreme Council of Labour have failed to reach a final package. A spokesman for the Workers Associations reports that the government and employers have accepted that wages have fallen behind and feel that an increase of 261,000 toumans is reasonable.

The government had begun by proposing a 15-percent increase based on the current inflation rate announced by the Central Bank. Throughout negotiations, the highest level it would accept was 20 percent.

The proposed increases, however, are inadequate to cover the average household expenses as announced by the Statistics Organization.

Labour representatives maintain that the wage increases in the past years were far below announced inflation rates so that wages are far behind the cost of living.

If workers representatives do not sign the deal proposed by the labour council, they can file a complaint with Iranian judiciary as well as through the International Labour Organization to accuse the government of violating Iranian labour legislation, which makes the government responsible for coordinating the minimum wage with the rate of inflation and official rates for average living expenses.

Independent labour organizations had been calling for a 50-percent increase in order to make workers’ income match their expenses

The Free Labour Union says living costs for a working household is three million toumans and a mere increase of 261,000 toumans will impose hunger and desperation on the working class.