Iranian Workers Stage Protest March to Mark May Day
Thousands of Iranian workers held a May Day march Sunday in central Tehran, chanting slogans against a recently passed law enabling employers with fewer than five staff to strip them of social security.
"Down with the unjust employer and those against the workers," and "the labor law in Iran is the product of martyrs' blood," chanted the protestors.
The majority are workers from factories in Tehran's suburbs.
Estimated at 20,000 by the organizers, they also chanted slogans in favor of reformist President Mohammad Khatami and against leading conservatives.
A communique read aloud at the final gathering of the protestors in front of the labor ministry said the law passed by the outgoing conservative-run parliament is a "humiliation for the workers."
They called on the next parliament, dominated by reformists, which is to take office in four weeks, to modify the legislation which they said recalled "the age of workers' exploitation."
Iran's Labor Minister Hossein Kamali announced Sunday that some two million refugees, for the most part Afghans, are working without permits in Iran.
"These people must leave our country and allow our youth a chance to work," Kamali said on Tehran radio.
Meanwhile the Islamic Labor Party, quoted by the official news agency IRNA, called for an official recognition of the right to strike - (AFP)
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