Teachers in Kifri say they have gone on strike in response to pay cuts

FILE PHOTO: Students at a primary school in Ranya (NRT Digital Media)

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SULAIMANI — High school teachers in Kifri district said on Saturday (September 26) that they have gone on strike until the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) acquiesces to a list of demands, including that teachers receive their monthly salary payments on time and in full.

They gave the KRG's Ministry of Education a deadline of October 10 to comply, at which point they will decide whether to escalate their protest.

The teachers said in a statement that they are also opposed to teaching classes online because they are not confident that virtual lessons will deliver the same quality of education as in-person instruction.

On September 21, three activist groups said in a joint statement that they will launch a new round of protests if the KRG fails to ensure teachers and public servants are paid in full and on time.

Earlier this week, high school teachers in Pishdar also published a similar statement promising to join the strike.

In April, Baghdad cut off all budget transfers to Erbil after the latter failed to send any oil to the federal government, as it was required to under the 2019 federal budget law. Amid low oil prices, the move put huge financial pressure on the KRG, which has also been hammered by the negative economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

In response, Erbil has repeatedly delayed and cut payments to public sector workers and social program beneficiaries.

(NRT Digital Media)