Strikes by non-contract teachers resume across Kurdistan Region

Protests in Ranya by non-contract teachers on October 20, 2021. (NRT Digital Media)

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SULAIMANI — Non-contract teachers resumed their strike action in cities and towns across the Kurdistan Region on Wednesday (October 20), demanding full contracts and equal pay and benefits for equal work with their colleagues who have full contracts.

By mid-morning, there were large sit-down protests in Sulaimani city, Qaladze, Kalar, and Ranya.

The protesters included many women, highlighting how the government treats a group that includes a large portion of the Kurdistan Region's working women.

The teachers have been holding protests over the last two weeks, which have deepened into strikes over the past several days.

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.

On Sunday, the teachers rejected an undetailed offer by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) which would have allocated some extra money to the teachers, but did not address their primary demands.

(NRT Digital Media)