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۱۳۹۲ آبان ۹, پنجشنبه

Social Security Organization and the Workers

With the absence of a reliable statistics, it is not clear how many million families of our country are covered by the Social Security Organization. Officials provide different statistics, but it seems that approximately 40 million of toilers and their families are covered by the Social Security Organization; and 14 million people are paying for insurance coverage to the Organization. The Organization, which during the anti-national government of Ahmadinejad became the site of criminals such as Judge Saeid Mortazavy, where with his anti-labor programs and bestowal of the Organization’s properties, caused irreparable damages to the Organization’s functioning and efficiency.

The new Managing Director of the Social Security Organization indicates: “This year we have 5000 billion Tomans (one dollar is approximately 3000 Tomans) deficiency; and to pay for current expenses, we must use the Organization’s resources.” (Bahar Newspaper, October 8, 2013)

The Organization’s budget is obtained from workers’ payments and money; and it is responsible to providing medical services and retirement salaries to the workers and their families. The Organization’s existence is the result of decades of labor activists’ struggles, spending time in prisons and being dismissed from work; and currently, it faces crisis in all its subsets.

The capitalization component of the Organization, Shasta, is lacking capital and is in the state of recession and closing of its institutions. According to the revealed documents during the Ahmadinejad’s conflict with the Larijani brothers, by paying bribes and for minute prices, Shasta’s profitable companies were supposed to be sold to foreign and local investors. According to ILAN’s September 2, 2013, report, “Billions of Tomans of the Social Security Organization’s budget was squandered by the previous Managing Director.” Again, the same report provides information on a small segment of the huge capital and resources of this Organization, which is being used in key industries. It indicates, “40 percent of the country’s medicine market, 40 percent of the country’s cement production, 20 percent of the country’s tar production, 70 percent of transfer of the good by rail and 50 percent of the country’s oil, belongs to the Shasta’s subset companies.”        

The Organization’s service and therapy division has a severe shortage of medicine, hospitals, medical personnel, and paramedical personnel. According to the officials, to acquire only a Social Security Insurance Card or renew it, one must stay in lines for several days; assuming that he or she succeeds to obtain it. According to Akbar Shokat, a worker member of the Social Security Organization’s Advisory Board, “These days because of unnecessary rules, to utilize the Organization’s services, most workers and insured individuals receive un-necessary run-around.” (ILANA, October 7, 2013)

Again, ILANA in a report from Ahwaz, quoting a member of the Khozestan’s Worker House, indicated: “At present most of the State’s Social Security branches, especially the six Ahwaz offices are full of people trying to renew their insurance cards, and added, “To renew and receive therapy cards, those insured by Ahwaz and other Khozestan Social Security branches must spend one of their work days in long lines. The report emphasized, “As an institution which collects 30 percent of the workers’ salaries to provide health care services, concerning its services, the Social Security Organization must respond to the insured individuals’ complaints.”   

The report also adds, “People insured by the Social Security Organization in Khozestan, expect that the Social Security Organization, in addition to taking care of the problems, adds to its inspections so that it can prevent problems from recurring.”
In Social Security Organization’s hospitals and clinics, workers’ families must wait long hours to see doctors or receive medical care. Also, most special services are not in the list of the medical services provided by the Social Security Organization; therefore, those insured by this Organization must use private medical services or buy additional private insurance. With the current conditions, obviously workers can not afford private medical care; and the government officials’ policies, have put them in very difficult living conditions. In addition to all this, dismissals from work, high unemployment and lack of medical services, means imposing of gradual death to a large segment of the working class and their families.   

During their election campaigns and prior to the start of the new government, the president and the new Minster of Labor have made promises to improve the Social Security Organization and workers’ living conditions. The previous government made critical changes in the Social Security Organization’s Constitution and looted the Organization’s assets and properties. Genuine owners of this Organization, workers and managers had no role in the decision making, and tri-lateral approach was set aside. Clashes between the parliament and the government during the last year of the anti-national Ahmadinejad government, brought every thing to an impasse, and the giant Organization was essentially incapable of carrying out its daily functions.

In the current conditions, the only way to improve the Organization’s performance, which belongs to the Iranian workers and toilers, is directing the Organization toward proper coverage of workers and their families, and utilizing workers’ genuine representatives in the Advisory Board. Workers’ legitimate representatives’ involvement in the decision making, will connect the Organization with the working class, and thereby utilizes society’s collective thought. Workers’ genuine representatives can only be elected by the independent trade unions and syndicates and be presented to the Advisory Committee.