- Published: Wednesday, 18 March 2020
The seriousness of the Coronavirus threat in Iran has led to the quarantine of many workers, many of them are forced to work despite the outbreak, but workers whose lives and livelihoods are tied to day-to-day work are not happy in the are not in good conditions.
While the regime refused to quarantine the cities, the people were forced to do itself, and block the streets and the entrances of their cities.
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani in the conference “Corona Economic Headquarters” on 15 March, while objecting to any quarantine, said: “We do not have something called quarantine. It is rumored that there are some shops and some businesses quarantined in Tehran or some cities, there is no such thing at all.” He added: “All jobs will continue their activities.”
In some places, workers in manufacturing and service units are still at work. Construction workers nowadays have the problem of not having a permanent job, a fixed monthly income and insurance, and the problem of the virus outbreak is added to their concerns on unemployment.
According to the statistics, more than 96 percent of the written and registered employment contracts in Iran are temporary!
Ali Khodai, member of the High Council of Labor, in August 2019 announced the figures on the state-TV, the presence of 5.3 million "underground workers" in workplaces outside the supervision of the Ministry of Labor and without any insurance and contracts and said that the Guilds are the center of the prevalence of open contracts.
Small sellers, homegrown food producers, home nurses of retailers, cleaners, part-time maids, sewing and hairdressing assistants, subway vendors, and… are classified as informal jobs, people that have not the protection of insurance, legal or contract benefits.
In addition, according to data from the Supreme Social Security Research Center, about 3 million women work in informal and non-employment jobs.
Ali Aslani, head of the Alborz Provincial Labor Council, on the situation of workers at the peak of the coronavirus outbreak, said: “By the instructions to the organizations and companies on the prevention of the coronavirus, workers were ignored, many employers have implemented the instructions and some didn’t, many workers complaining that we are human too.”
But the workers whose works have been stopped or being quarantined, are not in good condition. Companies and offices said the part-time to go on vacation until mid-April. An imposed unemployment and implicit dismissal with the least legal or financial backing.
These workers are doubly at risk of being infected with the coronavirus without a livelihood package because they cannot afford preventive measures such as disinfectants due to their high cost in addition to not being able to afford the cost of living at the quarantine time.
The health care needed is expensive, especially for low-income families, and sometimes unbearable. In addition, these activities require less work and therefore less income for large groups of society, which will ultimately lead to greater pressure on household spending.
The cycle which will start is that coronavirus along with poverty will lead to the spreading and disease of the virus, and disease replication to higher inflation and inflation to the coronavirus outbreak again.
In fact, the regime has put these strata between two choices with no escape from death: the death by the coronavirus or death by starvation.
According to the rules of the World Health Organization, if a government quarantines a group of people, it is obliged to meet their needs. The same is true in countries such as China, South Korea, and Italy that have attempted to quarantine.
But the regime, which does not want and cannot comply with the requirements of the quarantine, and its president that there will not any quarantine, advise and even compels the people to stay at home.
Mohammad Bagher Nobakht, the regime’s Head of Planning and Budget Organization, has announced about a gratis grant of 200-600 thousand tomans to low-income households in two phases, that will be awarded to about 3 million people.
This is while the regime’s president in the past said that 18 million households which are about 60 million people need help.
And the last word belongs to Heydar Ali Abedi, member of the regime’s Parliamentary Health Commission, who said: “Quarantine is good, but we can't. Quarantine requires tools that we don't have.”
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