Posted on September 26, 2016 by Editorial Staff in Education, People
Teachers protest in Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan, Sept. 25, 2016. Photo: NRT
SULAIMANI, Iraq’s Kurdistan region,— Teachers in several parts of Iraqi Kurdistan Region held peaceful protests on Sunday in opposition to the current situation in the region and salaries plagued by chronic delays.
Teachers took to the streets in Erbil, Sulaimani, Duhok, Kirkuk, Halabja, Kalar, Rania, Koya and Akre. The demonstrators called on officials in the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to reverse a decision to cut payments as part of austerity measures.
The Kurdistan Teachers Union protested against overdue salaries in Erbil through a statement and asked the KRG to accelerate efforts to implement reform plans.
Protesting teachers in Sulaimani threatened to resume demonstrations if their demand for a change to new austerity measures of withholding salaries was not met.
“We held protests to return dignity to teachers and demand teachers’ rights,” one educator told NRT. “Teachers need to be paid delayed salaries and the measure of withholding salaries needs to be reversed or cancelled.”
A group of teachers in Halabja refused to return to work until their demands were met and asked for a resolution to the political situation in the Kurdistan Region.
Ahmad Garmian, the head of the Kurdistan Teachers Union, told NRT he was optimistic the KRG would take the teachers’ demands seriously.
Peaceful protests and demonstrations are growing in the Kurdistan Region. KRG officials announced on February a measure to withhold a percentage of salaries and vowed the measure would resolve chronic delays in monthly payments of government employees.
Salaries for government workers have been plagued by delays since 2014 and Kurdish authorities have repeatedly said they cannot make payments due to a number of crises affecting the region.