Iraq: Trade union takes stock of pressing issues for educators

published 30 June 2020 updated 3 March 2022

Education unionists in Kurdistan have highlighted their demands to on border security and salary payments along with the impact of COVID-19 on union elections and teachers’ health and safety.

Salaries, union elections, security, and health and safety were at the heart of a Kurdistan Teachers’ Union (KTU) videoconference on 21 June.

Salary payments

The KTU welcomed the Kurdistan government’s decision to end the delay in salary payments to teachers. The delay was a serious problem and the KTU said salaries must now be distributed fairly. In addition, these reforms must also apply to eligible employees in general and teachers in the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Higher Education in particular.

The union also insisted that salaries be paid every 30 days without delay in accordance with the law.

Union elections

Regarding union elections, the KTU highlighted how these had been delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The elections were scheduled for late April or early May, and the membership renewal project was completed, and election lists had been approved.

The union hopes that the virus will soon disappear, after which it will be able to organise its conference and elections.

Security issues

Participants at the KTU videoconference also protested the attacks of Turkey and Iran on the border areas of the Kurdistan region.

KTU President Abdalwahed M. Haje highlighted that “war never resolves any paralysis and causes severe damage to the lives and properties of civilians”.

The education union demands that:

  • Turkey and Iran cease using the Kurdistan region as a forum to solve their problems
  • The regional and central government should strive to prevent violations of Kurdistan’s sovereignty and protect citizens’ lives and properties

Health and safety in schools

Haje recognised, “With regard to academic plans for this year, KTU commends the Ministries of Education and Higher Education for their efforts to work professionally on the academic year and the students’ efforts”.

The KTU believes that cooperation is necessary between all parties concerned, especially the two ministries and the teachers’ unions, to reduce the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. “We hope that the world and Kurdistan, in particular, can control this pandemic and return to normal life,” concluded Haje.