Saturday September 25, 2021

Call for fighting for workers’ health, lives in COVID-19 pandemic

May 01, 2020

On the eve of International Workers Day on Thursday, the Women Democratic Front (WDF) called for workers action committees and a united Left to fight for the health and lives of workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In their statement issued in connection with Labour Day, leaders of the left-leaning women’s group said the global pandemic has laid the inefficiency of the capitalist world order bare.

“Doctors and health care workers across the world are risking their lives due to a lack of life-saving protective equipment; workers are being laid off without being paid; violence against women is on the rise — all of this is evidence of the failure of an unjust economic system.”

WDF President Ismat Shahjahan said the system needs a complete overhaul to deal with the current crisis, adding that the post-COVID world can either continue with the same inequalities with increased surveillance, authoritarianism and security states or it can take a step towards a better, more just world with free universal health care, public housing, and gender and economic justice.

She said the bulk of the government’s economic response so far has been in the interests of industrial elites, adding that the government’s coronavirus relief package has included hundreds of billions in a bailout package for major industrialists.

She also said 9.3 million women workers have been laid off temporarily or permanently, but for workers the relief package of Rs3,000 is not enough, adding that the government must ensure paid leave and dignified basic income for daily-wagers.

WDF Information Secretary Tooba Syed said big pharma and the global neoliberal economic system work on market-based logic, adding that they neither aim to provide free universal health care as a right nor do they value the lives of health care workers.

She stressed that the Government of Pakistan must ensure the provision of personal protection equipment and immediately regularise contract workers in essential services, especially health workers.