Public Servants Should Use Court Action if the KRG Keeps Delaying Their Salaries

Salary protest last week by university teachers (Pic - NRT)

Salary protest last week by university teachers (Pic – NRT)

 By Abdul-Qahar Mustafa:

Salary delays are a breach of employment contract and illegal. All governments are obliged by law to pay their public service employees on time and accurately. The government is responsible if public servants suffer pay delay. No excuse can justify a government not paying public service workers for the work they do, no matter what difficulty and situation the country is going through.

Public servants in Iraqi Kurdistan have been suffering from financial hardships since 2014, with their salaries only been coming through after several months delay. This  has put significant financial pressures on public servants and their families. They are facing financial and psychological hardship because of this. Many have been struggling to pay for food to feed their children, to pay for housing rent, fuel, and other basic needs of life. They have to borrow money from family members and relatives in order to survive. Their health is affected as many have become depressed and stressed.

This difficult situation has been going on for more than two and a half years and still the government of Kurdistan has been unable to solve the problem.

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has previously said that they would solve the problem. However, so it has not taken any effective measures to do so.

KRG authorities says that they have made their best efforts, but the problem and the reason the government has been struggling to pay salaries on time is due to a number of crises affecting Kurdistan, starting the drop in oil prices, the fight against the IS and an influx of Syrian refugees and displaced Iraqis who have added more pressure to the KRG’s economy. However, many people including me believe that it is not impossible to save Kurdistan from financial crisis no matter how difficult things are.

The KRG should be creative, strong and skillful enough to overcome economic crisis in Kurdistan, just as many other governments of the world have successfully overcame their economic crises and saved their people from hunger and their countries from collapsing.

The KRG should put their focus and attention on meeting their legal duties and obligation towards the people of Kurdistan, solving their problems of unemployment and providing timely and accurate pay for public service employees. The government should also be honest and tell the nation if it can’t offer any solutions to the issue of salary delay so that nation can elect new people to power who might be able to do a better job in solving the economic problems of Kurdish people.

In all honesty, if the government cannot offer any solution to fix the problem of salary delays for public servants, the only sensible thing it can do is to voluntarily step down and allow other people to come in and take over the job. New people in power might come up with better ideas, applying their knowledge and skills to make reforms, and implement better economic programs.

The current KRG administration should find a solution. But if they fail to come up with a new effective strategy, or if they deny the chance for other people — with better skills for solving the economic problems — to come to power, then public servants surely have the right to take their case to the supreme court of Kurdistan. By law, the court has the right to force the government to pay its employees properly and on time.

Abdul-Qahar Mustafa is a graduate student from Saint Luis High school in Canada. He is an advocate of justice, democracy and human rights. He currently lives in Sarsing/Duhok, Iraqi Kurdistan.

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