Public sector workers in Sulaimani protest against salary cut

KRG facing massive budget shortfall
Public sector employees in Sulaimani protested on Tuesday June 23,2020 (Photo Credit: NRT Digital Media)

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SULAIMANI — Frustrated both by delays in the payment of their salaries and a subsequent order mandating a cut in their take-home pay, public sector workers protested in Sulaimani on Tuesday (June 23), demanding that the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) reverse course.

“The system should be completely rejected and it should be changed. No reform is expected from it,” one protester told NRT.

“I urge people from all the different fields and classes to participate in asking for their rights, which have been violated by the authority,” another protester said.

“People should unanimously demand their rights and be united in rejecting the oppression of the authority,” he added.

Doctors, health care workers, and traffic police officers have already gone on strike over unpaid salaries.

Pressed by a massive budget shortfall, the KRG announced on Sunday that it would cut the salaries of public sector workers who earn more than 300,000 Iraqi dinars by 21 percent.

In late April, the federal government ran out of patience with the KRG’s refusal to abide by the terms of the 2019 Federal Budget Law, which mandated that Erbil send 250,000 barrels of crude oil per day to Baghdad for export, and stopped all transfers, except for a one-time 400 billion Iraqi dinar infusion.

Meanwhile, oil prices have dropped significantly since the beginning of the year, meaning that the KRG cannot rely on independent oil sales to bring in revenue.

A KRG negotiating team is set to arrive in Baghdad on Tuesday to secure an agreement with the federal government to restart budget transfers.

(NRT Digital Media)