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KRG agriculture minister says payment issue at Darbandikhan Dam resolved with federal deal

Workers went on strike on July 23
Kurdistan Region's Minister of Agriculture and Water Resources Begard Talabani (File)
2020-07-26

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SULAIMANI — Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Minister of Agriculture and Water Resources Begard Talabani said on Saturday night (July 26) that the payment issues that precipitated a strike at an important hydroelectric dam have been resolved in coordination with federal and regional officials.

On July 23, employees at the Darbandikhan Dam Directorate walked off the job in response to delays in the disbursement of their salaries, saying that they wanted the four months of back pay that they are owed.

According to Talabani, Iraqi President Barham Salih worked out a deal with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi. She added that an amount of cash would be distributed this week, but did not say how much or whether it would constitute the full amount of back pay owed the workers.

“We thank the Iraqi President, the Kurds’ representatives in the Iraq’s parliament, the committees of agriculture and finance in Iraq’s Council of Representatives” for helping to resolve the situation, Talabani said. She also talked thanked the KRG’s representative in Baghdad.

“We assure employees at the General Directorate of Dams and Water Warehouses that we will continue to be in touch so that their salaries are distributed this week,” she added.

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, feeling that Baghdad would prove more reliable in distributing salaries on time and in full than Erbil.

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

(NRT Digital Media)