The Iranian


email us

US Transcom
US Transcom

Sehaty Foreign Exchange

    News & views

Iran approves bill on easing labour laws

TEHRAN, June 8 (Reuters) - Iran's parliament approved a bill on Tuesday to ease labour laws as part of a drive to encourage investment and improve the country's chronic unemployment problem, but the assembly must still work out the final details.

The law, passed by a narrow margin of 107 to 93, exempts firms with three or less employees from labour regulations for six years.

The bill, pushed through by advocates of economic free markets, has caused tension with state labour unions and provoked labour unrest throughout the country last month. Debate on details of the new law will resume on Wednesday.

Iran introduced strict labour laws after its 1979 Islamic revolution, which sought to defend the interests of the economic underclass. The laws make it nearly impossible for an employer to fire his workers and requires various benefits for them.

The laws, however, have been challenged over the past decade as the country has tried to move from a centralised economy to a free market. Politicians across the spectrum blamed them for a general reluctance to invest and for rising unemployment.

Iran's unemployment rate is officially estimated at around 14 percent, but independent sources say it is much higher.

The bill enjoyed support from both moderates and conservatives in parliament, but was opposed by Islamic leftists close to labour unions. The government of President Mohammad Khatami was also against the bill, mainly due to pressure from supporters in the unions.

Khatami's Labour Minister Hossein Kamali urged the deputies in a passionate plea to vote against the proposal. "This idea has not been thought through. It means anarchy. It belongs to a pre-industrial capitalism," he said.

"Tens of thousands of workers are injured at work every year. Who are they going to seek redress from if they are not protected by the law -- mosques, prayers leaders or the police?"

He said the law would affect the lives of more than two million people who work for small businesses.

But supporters said the law could help create jobs for large pools of unemployed young people.

"No we are not indifferent to the fate of the workers. We want to create jobs. We want to fight unemployment," said Mohammad-Mehdi Shojaiefard, a member of parliament. "And to do that we must revise the labour law. What if these unemployed workers once take to the streets for their rights?" he asked.


Copyright ©Abadan Publishing Co. All Rights Reserved. May not be duplicated or distributed in any form

 MIS Internet Services

Web Site Design by
Multimedia Internet Services, Inc

 GPG Internet server

Internet server by
Global Publishing Group.