Non-contract teachers strike for equal pay for equal work; demonstrations across Kurdistan Region

Non-contract teacher protesting in Koya on Oct 17, 2021. (NRT Digital Media)

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 SULAIMANI — Non-contract teachers went on strike in the Kurdistan Region on Sunday (October 17), holding demonstrations and demanding that the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) give them the same pay and benefits as their colleagues on full contracts.

"Our demand is that they give us our rights” a protesting teacher in Penjwen district told NRT, noting that if non-contract teachers get sick then they are replaced, rather than getting sick leave like other teachers.

The KRG instituted a number of austerity measures in response to a financial crisis that began in in 2014, including creating an employment status known as "non-contract,” where teachers are paid a lump sum per class and do not receive benefits.

Their pay is lower than teachers on full contracts or those with "on-bond” status despite doing the same jobs.

There are an estimated 21,000 non-contract teachers working in the Kurdistan Region.

Another protester in Ranya said that the government should respond practically, not just with empty promises as it has in the past.

The protesters have been in the streets for two weeks and on October 13 blocked the door of the Ranya’s local education directorate building.

The New Generation Movement’s Mofaq Hussein, who was elected to the Council of Representatives in last week’s election, attended the protest in Kalar.

Hussein told NRT that non-contract teachers have been of great service to the people, but that the government is treating them badly.

The KRG’s Ministry of Finance said in a statement on Sunday that it would work to address their demands soon, but did not provide any details.

(NRT Digital Media)