Women are faced with layoffs, together with wage inequality which has made life harder for them during the pandemic. Jin News interviewed women on the occasion of 1 May, international worker’s day regarding the hardships and pressures they have experienced, especially in the last year.
Reyhan Karadeli is a member of the Revolutionary Health Workers Union (Dev-Sağlık İş) and has been working as a cleaner at Ankara University Ibni Sina Hospital for the last 10 years. As a women worker, she explains her struggle both at home and at the workplace for the last year as follows:
”With this pandemic, our burden has doubled in terms of both our workload and our economic difficulties. In the hospital, I have to do the cleaning job way more carefully than as usual due to the Coronovirus.” she states. This burden continues when she goes back her home after working for hours in the hospital.
“We are exhausted by the burden of the house chores, taking care of the children, economic difficulties and low wages. We, unfortunately, have no authority or administration that sees the difficulties we have been through and protects the rights of the health workers,” she said.
Regarding the heavy workload and injustice in hospitals, Karadeli stated that she can not make a living with the money she makes per month ”The minimum wage is not enough for anything during this economic crisis. While working hours have been reduced in all institutions, it was not applied to healthcare workers. On the contrary, our hours were extended but our wages were decreased,” she said.
Karadeli also recalls the promises given by the Ministry of Health for them. “Most of our rights were taken away from us. At the beginning of the pandemic, there were additional allowances announced by the Minister of Health, but they were never paid.”
The health workers protested that in front of the hospital but were faced with brutal police attacks. “For this, we made a protest in front of the hospital. We were detained with five friends just because we demanded our legitimate rights.” she noted.
Fatoş Kılınç, who has been a preschool teacher in Çankaya Municipality for 15 years and is member of the Confederation of Revolutionary Workers Unions (DİSK), shared her experiences during the pandemic both as a teacher and as a mother.
“We locked the children at home. They could not socialise outside but rather played on their mobile phones for hours. The adults of the future society will be the children who grow up during this pandemic,” Kılınç said.
Fatoş emphasised that even though both she and her husband are working, they are still struggling economically.” How did those people whose workplaces, restaurants and cafes that closed survive? When we look at the results of this economic crisis unfortunately we can see that the number of suicides increased due to poverty. Many people suffer so much from poverty, and they are without hope” she said.
Elif Gözlü Çakır, who was running her own private education institution, said that after the investigations regarding the private institutions run by the Gulen Movement, people were distrustful of private education. ” I had to close the institution for that reason,” she said
Çakır has been unemployed for 5 years now, ”Although I have experience as an educator, I could not find a job due to my age. I am 48 years old and they are hiring younger people. I was already an unemployed woman when the pandemic started and life became even harder. I cannot now pay my rent and bills,” she said.
The companies that Çakır worked for previously did not give her rights either. She realised after she searched and found the insurance document, it was written that she only worked for 15 days whereas in fact she was a full-time worker at those workplaces. ” I am 48 years old and disabled since I cannot use my right leg, but I cannot get a disabled report either,” Çakır noted. “I have worked since I was 18 years old, I should have retired by now, but I cannot. I was supposed to retire with disability, but I could not. I have been unemployed for 5 years now, how can I pay this general insurance? I cannot even go to the hospital.”
Looking forward to May Day. she shared her last message: ”1 May is the day that symbolizes the struggle of the working classes all around the world. I would put on my mask and go out for 1 May celebrations since I think it is important. We should take the streets on 1 May for the Labours Day,”