Filiz Gazi / DUVAR

City utility workers that read water and natural gas meters in Istanbul apartments are facing difficulties as coronavirus fears grow, according to Istanbul Greater City Municipality (IBB) Workers’ Association chair Ali Rıza İlhan. 

“On the field as [the water and natural gas companies] every day each person goes to 70 different apartments. We enter each building and read the meters, and on average we are looking at 500 meters [daily] and we have to touch those meters. Also, when the doors of the buildings we enter aren’t open, we have to ring all the doorbells,” İlhan said.

“While doing this work, no masks or protective equipment was given. We are still out in the field. The workload is excessive. If there is someone among us with the virus, they can’t even rest,” İlhan added, saying that in spite of meetings with authorities from the city water company, they still couldn’t reach a solution 

Even restrooms is an issue

According to İlhan, the utility workers both face the risk of transmitting the virus to the people in the homes they enter as well as their own families. 

“Everywhere is closed. Our colleagues in the field can’t even use the restroom. They ask customers, and of course they say no, because there is a virus among us at the moment,” said İlhan, adding that workers are available in an emergency but that the reading of meters can be postponed.