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Thursday, October 12, 2006

200,000 Iranian workers unpaid for months: union

TEHRAN (AFP) - About 200,000 Iranian workers have not received their salaries for months, the head of the official labour union has been quoted as saying.

"Close to 200,000 workers in 500 factories have not received any salary for months," said Alireza Mahjoub, the secretary general of
Iran's House of Labour, on Thursday.

"Some of these workers have been waiting for their wages for about 50 months," said Mahjoub, who is also a member of parliament.

"The parliament should consider the delayed payments in the (upcoming) additional budget bill," he said.

According to Mahjoub, some 18.5 percent of Iran's 70 million population live under the poverty line.

The Tehran MP also expressed concern over the high inflation rate during the past few months, describing the rising prices as the "the root of the current economic problems."

In the past few weeks, Iranian officials have denied inflation is rising, putting the rate at about 10 percent, even though staple items have become more expensive in markets and unofficial sources estimate the figure to have reached at least 20 percent.

However, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reacted to the criticism by putting the blame on "national and non-national media" for rising consumer prices.
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