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Workers at Darbandikhan Dam go on strike to force KRG to distribute back pay or have Baghdad step in

Federal government has already offered to do so
Darbandikhan Dam (File)
2020-07-23

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SULAIMANI — Public sector workers protested at the Darbandikhan Dam Directorate in response to delays in the disbursements of their salaries, saying that they would go on strike until they receive the four months of back pay that they are owed.

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) is under tremendous financial pressure after a tough spring which saw Baghdad cut off all budget transfers and global oil prices drop precipitously.

As a result, it is at risk of being unable to pay government workers, having only paid them twice since February. The most recent disbursement came earlier this month, but was accompanied by a cut of at least 21 percent for all workers making more than 300,000 Iraqi dinars ($252) per month.

During demonstrations in June and early July, some protesters called for the federal government in Baghdad to take over responsibility for paying public servants in the Kurdistan Region, including at Darbandikhan and Dukan hydroelectric dams.

In June, the federal government offered to do so, noting that it already pays for the maintenance of those facilities.

Protesters expressed frustration that they still have to deal with salary delays and cuts, despite the willingness of Baghdad to step in and ensure that they are paid in full every month.

Calling on the KRG and the federal government to sort out their dispute, they said that they would not be held responsible for any problems that arise during their strike.

(NRT Digital Media)