Iraq: Financial wellbeing of teachers at heart of KTU demands

published 19 May 2021 updated 21 May 2021

Salaries and building budgets were among recent proposals the Kurdistan Teachers’ Union (KTU) presented to the Ministry of Finance and Economy of the Kurdistan’s Regional Government. The proposals are aimed at enhancing the condition of teachers and the education system.

Teachers’ demands

Led by KTU president Abdalwahed M. Haje, the KTU delegation met the Finance Minister on 4 May. The union’s requests included:

  1. Ending the 21 per cent deduction on teachers’ salaries, which has been compulsory for over a year.
  2. Opening a bank account for each teacher and depositing all salaries that were not provided or deducted into that account.
  3. Paying salary increases and bonuses that have been suspended since 2015 due to the economic crisis.
  4. Solving the issue of over 18,000 teachers whose wages must be paid and who must be appointed formally or by contract. KTU noted that the Regional Government has not appointed any teacher since 2014, at a time when many teachers retired, emigrated, or obtained various certificates to enter other professions.
  5. Defining a budget needed to rebuild educational centres, meeting the requirements for a quality education process, and for adequate protection against the COVID-19 virus.

Ongoing social dialogue

The Regional Government’s Minister of Finance and Economy explained that he highly valued the role of teachers in the Kurdistan Region. Everyone is “a product of teachers’ efforts”, he said, adding that everyone should appreciate teachers’ services and respect them.

He confirmed that he would forward the KTU’s demands to the Council of Ministers and provide the necessary support for them to be met.

He also reaffirmed his readiness to meet with the teachers’ union again when necessary, according to availability.