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Workers at Darbandikhan, Dukan dams to strike if salaries go unpaid: official

Not paid since October
Undated photo of Drabandikhan Dam (Photo: NRT Digital Media/ File)
2021-01-25

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SULAIMANI — Head of Darbandikhan Dam Directorate Rahman Khani said on Monday (January 25) that the employees at the facility have not been paid for almost four months because of the ongoing financial disputes between the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the federal government.

Rahmani told NRT that workers at the Darbandikhan and Dukan hydroelectric dams have not been paid since October and that they would go on strike if they were not paid in the near future.

Although located in the Kurdistan Region and the directorates are part of the KRG, the two facilities fall under the jurisdiction of the federal government and their employees are paid out of the federal budget since November 2017. Nevertheless, the KRG directorates are responsible for disbursing that money.

Rahmani said that the directorates’ employees have sent a memorandum to the Kurdistan Region president, KRG prime minister, and speaker of the Kurdistan Parliament outlining their problems and seeking resolution.

He noted any strike would create “problems for the dams in this winter and have an impact on local residents” and called on the government to meet their demands.

This is the latest threat to strike over salary problems at the dams, which are critically important for electricity production and water storage.

During 2020, the KRG struggled to pay public sector workers, missing five monthly salary disbursements entirely and cutting four others by nearly a quarter during that twelve-month period.

Baghdad and Erbil are currently in the midst of budget negotiations to ensure more consistent transfers to the KRG.

(NRT Digital Media)