More than half of workers in Iranian provinces worst hit by Iran’s COVID-19 outbreak have been laid off or have become unemployed, an Iranian labor official said today.
Most of Iranian workers don’t have unemployment insurance and do not even make minimum wage. Labor activists have asked the government to give workers packages containing food and sanitary items to aid them during Iran’s COVID-19 outbreak.
According to the state-run ILNA News Agency, 95% of workers in Iran lack job security. Since the COVID-19 outbreak which has led to widespread recession and closure of factories, the effects of this job instability has severely increased.
It’s not clear how many workers have become unemployed in the county as the regime has not announced any statistics, but according to Akbar Shokat, the Head of Qom Association of Construction Workers and a member of the Board of Directors of Iran’s Supreme Association of Construction Workers, “more than 50-60% of construction workers” in the province of Qom, the epicenter of Iran’s COVID-19 outbreak, have become unemployed.
“Therefore, these workers did not receive wages for Nowruz,” he said.
Construction workers in other provinces have also been laid off due to the recession in the construction industry last winter.
Service workers in restaurants, coffee shops, hotels, and recreational facilities, who are mostly contract workers, have also become unemployed.
Shokat said that 50% of service workers had also become unemployed in Qom and other provinces worst hit by the COVID-19 outbreak due to the widespread closure of restaurants and other businesses.
“This means that they are fired because they don’t stable contracts,” the labor official said.
Shokat said that the government had to give workers and their families individual sanitary items including disinfectants, masks and gloves.
According to ILNA, the 50% unemployment rate for service workers is too “optimistic”.
Another report said that around 200 workers in the Lordegan Petrochemical plant were fired in southwestern Iran.
The report said that they were fired because the company was not willing to pay them while the plant was closed because of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Although much of the country’s economic activity has declined, the Iranian regime continues to stress on “business on usual” in terms of manufacturing.
Refusing to address the threat of COVID-19 infections among workers, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has emphasized that everything was to be done to keep production normal. This is while workers at manufacturing centers operating during the epidemic, complain of the lack of adequate sanitary equipment and the lack of attention by unit managers to workers’ health.
Iran’s Health Ministry said that 1,556 people had died from COVID-19. But locals reports indicate that the numbers are much higher.
According to the National Council of Resistance, at least 8,800 have died from the virus in 201 cities