Iraqi Kurdistan finance minister says striking teachers to receive wages next week


ERBIL-Hewler, Kurdistan region ‘Iraq’,— Finance Minister in Iraqi Kurdistan region, Rebaz Mohammed Hamlan, announced Wednesday that teachers who launched a strike this week in cities across the Kurdistan region over delayed wages would be paid on Monday. The payment would come from the Ministry of Finance, but that it was unclear whether all the teachers would get their entire salaries, Rudaw reported. Hundreds of teachers took to the streets in Sulaimani and Erbil provinces on Tuesday after declaring a week-long strike earlier this month over the delayed salaries. Representatives of the protesting teachers told Rudaw they refused to go back to work before receiving their full salaries, which have been withheld since July. Kurdistan Parliament has ordered the Kurdish region’s finance minister to appear before lawmakers for a hearing on issues facing the region as anti-government demonstrations grow in Kurdish cities.Parliament leaders met with political party heads on Tuesday and demanded Minister Rebaz Mohammed be present in Parliament on Thursday to answer questions on the Kurdistan Region’s economic crisis. Teachers in many other cities including in Halabja and Rania showed solidarity with their colleagues and gathered in central parts of the cities to protest against the overdue wages.

“In the 1990s, teachers worked for a year without getting paid because we felt it was our duty, but now it’s really different,” another teacher told Rudaw. “We were more equal then, but now there are humiliating inequalities,” he added.

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) had asked civil servants for patience and promised to pay its employees.

The KRG says the ongoing war with Islamic State militants, the influx of over 1.3 million refugees and Baghdad’s freezing of the KRG budget since February last year have coupled with falling oil prices to contribute to the unprecedented crisis.