Workers with disabilities in Iran won a victory this month when the government finally deposited funds in the bank for their welfare payments and supplies, as well as what it owed to rehabilitation centers, including for physical therapy and wages for health care workers.
The victory comes after a series of protests since January organized by the Disabled People’s Campaign, which was formed in 2016. They were joined by their families and health care workers, in Tehran (above) and other cities. The actions were organized when, as the end of the fiscal year neared, the government had only paid 50% of the funds allocated for the disabled.
After the protests began the government agreed to pay the arrears by March 18, but the official Iranian Labour News Agency reported that with the Iranian “New Year two days away, the wages have not been received.”
The Disabled People’s Campaign held a march that same day of dozens, led by three people in wheelchairs, which culminated in a sit-in in front of the government Program and Budget Office in Tehran. Government officials invited leaders of the protest inside. After a heated exchange, the protesters were promised payments would be made right away.
On March 20 the Disabled People’s Campaign said the funds had been deposited.
This fight for the rights of disabled people takes place in the wake of the “Women, life, freedom” protests that broke out last year when Zhina Amini died after she had been arrested by the hated “morality” police and amid a deepening capitalist economic and social crisis.
The same day the funds for the disabled were deposited the government’s Supreme Labor Council approved a 27% increase in the minimum wage. This is less than the official annual inflation rate of 40%. Most sources say the real rate is 57%.