Teachers in Iran took part in fresh nationwide gatherings on Thursday to reiterate their demand for the equalization of salaries, as well as the release of imprisoned educators.
Large crowds gathered in major cities. Teachers in Tehran protested in front of the parliament building, chanting “Stand up teachers, end discrimination", "The pen is mightier than the gun” and “Implement the ranking system without deceit”.
The “ranking system” refers to a bill first proposed in 2015 that would have seen teachers of all levels receive a wage increase commensurate with their experience.
Iranian MPs had also agreed that schoolteachers should be paid the same amount as university teachers with equivalent qualifications. Both of these fair pay provisions were scrapped in Ebrahim Raisi’s budget bill for 2022-23.
Educators in Iran also have concerns about job security and the “temporary” contracting-out of government employees. There have also been allegations of missing pension funds. Many participants in the rallies have been arrested and threatened by security forces, or even hit with security-related charges.
Iran’s Educational Trade Unions Coordination Council issued a call for a fourth round of public rallies on its website following the three mass protests staged in December.
It stated: "This council warns those in power that no excuses, be they ‘sanctions’, ‘endangering national security’, ‘creating grounds for abuse by foreigners and enemies’, or other pretexts will be acceptable. The hands of the looters and violators of the nation’s rights are completely exposed to society, and especially its educators."