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Morocco’s key blue-collar workers take the risk to survive amid coronavirus lockdown

In Morocco, several blue-collar workers leave their house every day to work. Most of them cannot afford abandoning their jobs and small wages during this period, despite the risks that come with that.

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A deliveryman. / Ph. Xinhua

While several employees, workers and entrepreneurs have been forced to stay home or work remotely during the state of health emergency, declared by the Moroccan government to avoid the spread of the novel coronavirus, others have no other choice but to leave their houses to work.

They are key workers that secure primordial services, with minimal wages, and take big risks at a time when tens of Moroccans have tested positive for the virus.

Brahim, a Casablanca residential janitor, is one of these hard-to-live without workers that take the risk to fulfill their duties. «I am exposed to several difficulties, especially when residents ask me for groceries and send me on trips to the store», he told Yabiladi.

However, Brahim has no other choice due to his financial situation. «Despite fears and worries, I have to work because I need an income», he explained.

To overcome his fears, the Casablanca-based worker pretends that every day is just a normal workday, while, of course, taking the necessary preventive measures. «I am as scared as others but the only solution is to adapt and be cautious», he insisted.

Doing it takes to survive

The current situation is not an easy one either for Karim, who works as a deliveryman for several supermarkets. During the day, the Casablanca-based worker delivers groceries and supplies to those who prefer not to leave their houses and expose themselves to the risks of being infected while doing groceries.

«I deliver five times a day, taking the measures and trying to be cautious as much as I can during these deliveries», Karim said. However, he reported that sometimes «it is not an easy task, because even when [he] tries to protect [himself], others still take this lightly».

«I had clients not respecting the space distance and people touching their faces and coming close to me», he argued. To protect his loved ones while on duty, Karim sent his wife and kids to Agadir in order not to have contact with them during this period.

«To be honest, I am very scared and I am thinking of stopping work and selling the motorcycle I am using to deliver to get by during this period as I am already having problems supporting myself and my family», he regretted.

While Karim is thinking of leaving his job during the lockdown, Mouad has no other income to support a one-month long stay at home. Working as a gas deliveryman, the young man said that despite taking the sanitary measures he still feels unsafe going to work every day.

«It is quite hectic for gas deliverymen these days, we get a lot of calls and our job requires meeting people and visiting their places to install gas bottles», he explained.

«We have a series of serious instructions to follow when on duty, we make sure not to touch anything while installing the gas bottles, we keep the distance required and once home we change our clothes and shower before meeting our family members», he added.

However, fear and doubt is a daily struggle for Mouad and his fellow workers. «I have no other choice, without this job I wouldn’t be able to survive and support my family and it is out of my reach», he concluded.

Casablanca electrician Mohammed is on the same boat. He told Yabiladi that he received an authorization to keep the doors of his workshop open, which he sees as a must during these times. «I've been doing odd jobs from time to time since it started. I use a medical mask and gloves to protect myself», he said.

«However, I cannot give up on my clients and the companies I assist during the outbreak. If I close my shop I will have no money to feed my children», he regretted.

Many other blue-collar workers in Morocco, still have to hit the streets, take transportation means and leave their families and loved ones at home to bring food on the table. Even when the risk of getting infected is daily, some of them have to do what it takes to survive.

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