Workers of Shahroud Railway Buildings, 3 Months’ Salary Arrears and Deprivation of Access to Masks, Gloves and Forced Labor on Quarantine Days
Human Rights in Iran – Today, Wednesday, April 24, 2020, construction workers currently working in the railway buildings of Shahroud have 3 months of deferred monthly salaries. These citizens are also deprived of the right to have access to hygiene items such as masks and environmental disinfectants to prevent coronavirus. They were summoned on the days of the quarantine, by the contractor to work while the contractor did not provide them with the prevention means of the deadly virus.
According to the report of Human Rights in Iran, quoting from ILNA, today, Wednesday, April 24, 2020, the non-payment of 3 months’ salary arrears to 550 construction workers currently working in the railway buildings of Shahroud has caused dissatisfaction among these citizens. They are also deprived of having access to masks, gloves and other items to prevent coronavirus, and are at high risk for the deadly coronavirus. All 550 railroad workers have been on duty since the first days of the quarantine, because of being forced by the contractor, and some of them are infected by the coronavirus.
“Having the coronavirus has caused a great deal of concern among us, and currently six to seven of our colleagues have the virus,” the workers said.
They added: “The contracting company has not yet made any acceptable arrangements to prevent us from the coronavirus, and we have only been given just one mask on the first day since April 14, when we resumed our work on the railways, but not on other days.”
“In order to repair and inspect the rails, we have to take about 15 to 20 workers at each station on a single train (aka small train) without any preventive measures,” the workers said of how they work these days when officials claim the social distance. They take us by vans to the workplace. Our infected colleagues with coronavirus, in fact, are infected by getting in touch with others through sharing the same workplace and transportation. On Tuesday, the result of a corona test for one of the workers was positive, and all we are worried about is why the contractors of the technical structures of the railways do not care about the lives of the workers.”
According to another worker, “We travel long distances between the Garmsar to Niqab railway lines, repair rails and broken tracks, and avoid accidents lurking on trains. Under normal circumstances, we are at risk of all kinds of accidents, but now we just expect them to give us at least a respirator and gloves due to the present situation.”
In the final part of their speech, the workers of Taras Shahroud technical buildings Company, referring to the announcement of the reduction of working hours of the employees of government-production departments of Semnan province, said: “According to the decree of the Corona headquarters, workers are obliged to work with one shift. But from the beginning of Corona, although Shahroud was one of the cities involved with Corona, we all had 550 workers working at the same time. At the same time, the postponement of the payment of wages and insurance claims of the workers of the technical buildings of Shahroud railway has continued.”
Poverty and deprivation of workers’ social security are on the rise, while article25 of the UDHR, and the ICCPR, Iran is a signatory to both, emphasizes the right of individuals to have access to adequate social security in terms of food, housing, clothing and so on. Emphasizing social protection services in cases of unemployment, illness, organ failure, biopsy, aging, or in all other cases where the person’s livelihoods have been lost due to unintentional reasons, but Violent clashes between security and judicial organs and Iranian workers and security allegations for the demands of these people are a clear example of flagrant violation of Human Rights.