While protests are increasingly common across Iran, in spite of the dangers posed by both the coronavirus pandemic and the state security forces, these past few days have seen intense protests from nurses and healthcare workers.
They’ve actually held seven protests in the last four days alone across Ahvaz, Shiraz, Yazd, Yasouj, Bafgh, and Karaj, which we will look at here, all to demand their wages and benefits be paid.
Nurses’ Protests in Khuzestan Province
Many nurses from the medical centers and hospitals in Ahvaz and its surrounding cities held a protest on Tuesday outside the Khuzestan Governorate to protest unfair discrimination and a lack of job security, as well as to demand that they be paid the same as officially hired nurses. They wanted both the Governorate and the Medical Sciences University of Khuzestan to address these issues.
“They have deducted from our salaries and benefits for consecutive months. We have been going through difficult circumstances over the past year because of the Coronavirus outbreak,” the nurses said.
That same day and at the same place, nurses hired by the Ava Salamat company in Ahvaz, protested over the lack of response to their demands, saying that the privately-employed nurses work the same hours and do the same job as those employed in the government healthcare system, but that they are paid two to four million Tomans less.
On Sunday, nurses from some Khuzestan hospitals were fired and not paid their wages.
Nurses’ Protests in Karaj City
On Tuesday, healthcare workers from the Hospital of Karaj protested outside the Alborz Governorate over the non-payment of wages and benefits for four years.
They chanted: “Enough with hollow promises, our food baskets are empty.”
Nurses’ Protests in Yazd City
On Monday, healthcare workers hired by private companies gathered outside the Yazd Governorate to protest pay discrepancies between them and the public sector.
“We worked along with the official healthcare workers. But at the time of payment of salaries and benefits, we receive less than they do, because we are contract workers and we do not have the right to object,” they said.
Nurses’ Protests in Bafgh City
Also on Monday, nurses from the medical centre in Bafgh protested outside the Governorate with similar complaints and demanded their benefits, noting that they work just as much as the other nurse, but with no rights.
Nurses’ Protests in Yasouj City
Volunteer nurses, who have been fighting the coronavirus for over ten months, protested in front of the Governorate on Sunday over the refusal of the Medical Sciences University of Yasouj to hire them.
Their placards read “sacrifice must not be answered by unemployment” and “we defeated the virus but were fired from our jobs”.
Nurses’ Protests in Shiraz City
Privately-hired medical centre nurses and employees protested outside the Governorate with signs that read, “we helped you in the worst conditions; you abandon us in the worst circumstances. We demand our rights”.
On January 1, nurses and staff of Kowsar Hospital gathered to protest unpaid wages, with placards that read “pay our salaries” and “we protest.”
“The clerical regime exploits nurses and healthcare workers. In return for their sacrifices and hard work in the frontline of the fight against the Coronavirus, it does not pay their salaries and benefits or fires them,” said the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).