For the first time, teachers feel that their union has remembered its staff and it starts working for them.
The teachers' union called for a strike two weeks ago to be for one simple day put Sunday 16th of this recent month as a start demanding all teachers of the fifteen Iraqi provinces ( without the other three provinces in Kurdistan region in the north of Iraq) to take part in it. As this step is for the benefit of them , teachers of Basra, Anbar , Mosul , Baghdad and the other provinces in the south , west , east and centre of Iraq carried it out hoping to get its result so soon.
The aim of this strike is to make those teachers of the south and centre of Iraq in a balance with those teachers in Kurdistan region by having the same salaries and privilege. Teachers in Kurdistan get double and they reach triple the salaries of those in all over the country. The question is why we have this double standard in dealing with teachers.
Are the teachers in Kurdistan better than those in other parts of Iraq? Are they suffer or face more difficulties to be compensated? Does the education system differ in a way which forces the teachers to give more efforts? Do teachers have to travel so far of their homes to get extra money for transportation? The answer is so simple: NO. I can tell after having thirteen years of experience in teaching that teachers in the south had suffered a lot during Saddam regime.
Kurd teachers didn't suffer as much as those teachers in the marshes or the desert or even in the cites. We know that they suffered during Saddam's regime or of the previous regimes. But teachers in other parts and especially in the south suffered more than that. In the past, I had to teach in two different schools in one salary of about three dollars a month. Nowadays my colleagues get about 125 $ per month spending at least 50 $ on transportation.
So to be equal in suffering for all those years, Iraqi teachers should be equal in having their salaries whether they are in the north or in the south of Iraq.
For my opinion , the union has the right to do this strike passing its opinion to the central government that Kurdistan region which gets its fund from you is treating teachers in a way or another better than you with the money of those teachers' lands. For example, Basra and Maysan provinces are the richest in oil in Iraq. Basra produces oil which Iraqi budget depends for paying Iraqi people salaries and fund ministries while its teachers get salaries of (190 $) to (450 $) per month. Their counterparts in Kurdistan get (450 $) to (1200 $).
I think the union in this democratic step is showing the progress the Iraqi teachers reach which reflect the future of the Iraqi society. The strike doesn't stop at this point . The union will wait for the government reply till January the second if not teachers will stop teaching for a week and if reaching no goal the schools will close their doors in the mid year examinations.