Public sector workers protest against KRG pay cut order

Want salaries direct from Baghdad
Protesters in front of Bakhi Gshty park speaking to NRT Digital Media. June 22, 2020. Sulaimani, Kurdistan Region. (NRT Digital Media/Screenshot)

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SULAIMANI — Public sector workers, teachers, traffic police officers, and medical staff protested on Monday (June 22) in front of Sulaimani’s Bakhi Gshty park against the government’s decision to cut their salaries by 21 percent.

The protesters said that they will not accept any cuts to their take-home pay, adding that they had already been frustrated by the delayed payment of their salaries.

“We appeal to the federal government. We have gathered signatures and we will send them to Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi so that [Baghdad] does not send our salaries to the Kurdistan Regional Government. We want our salaries directly sent to us,” one protester said.

The protesters called on the people of Sulaimani not to accept “this injustice” and join them on the streets, saying that they cannot reject the governing system from the comfort of their homes.

“We as the Traffic Police, we fine people for speeding and violations every day. Why don’t they pay us from that money? Where does it go,” one traffic police officer in attendance asked.

Pressed by a massive budget shortfall, on Sunday the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) decided to cut 21 percent of the salaries of the employees in the Kurdistan Region who earn more than 300,000 Iraqi dinars.

(NRT Digital Media)