Iraq: Respect educators and pay decent pensions!

published 18 July 2023 updated 25 July 2023

In the Iraqi region of Kurdistan retired public educators are a forgotten group. The President of the Kurdistan Teachers’ Union (KTU) Abdulwahid Muhammad Haje calls for increased pensions and better living conditions for them.

Unequal treatment

“I am sure that some of the pensioners have been forgotten in the region,” the union leader warned. Explaining that there are eight pension laws in force Kurdistan, Haje criticised the fact that “none of them are in the interest of pensioners”.

In line with Law No 9 of 2014, the situation of national government pensioners is very different from that of those in the Kurdistan Region. Differences include:

  1. Retired teachers and employees at national level receive a pension of about 80% of their salaries, and their pension is not less than 400,000 Iraqi Dinars (around 275 euros).
  2. When they retire, they receive an 18-month salary payment as a reward.
  3. They can borrow 25 million dinars (around 17,040 euros) to use for improving their health condition and other necessities. Recently, the Iraqi Council of Ministers issued several new decisions to provide more services to pensioners and compensate for their years of service and all their efforts.

Retired national government workers are also entitled to the following:

  1. Any pensioner who has not received land must be given a piece of residential land.
  2. Iraqi Airways will reduce the price of air tickets by 25% for pensioners.

In addition to these legal entitlements and privileges, the KTU leader noted that all pensions are paid via electronic cards. “People don’t have any problems and difficulties with getting their pensions and there are no differences among them except for their years of service, ranks, duties and efforts. It means they are treated fairly and equally by their government.”

“On the other hand, in Kurdistan, teachers and education employees are forced to retire as quickly as possible without any rewards as if they were punished and they are sent back home without any privileges and respect as if they are extra and not needed”, the union leader stressed.

KTU demands

KTU therefore demands the following:

  1. Retired educators must receive a pension equivalent to 80% of their salaries. Even after retirement, educators must still support their family and children. Cutting their means of subsistence is illegal.
  2. When an educator retires, he or she must receive six months of salary as a reward.

Haje further reminded that the Judicial Council recently repealed Law No. 27 of 2006 and decided to apply Law No 9 of 2014, still in force.