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Will Iraqi government employees face more wage cuts in 2016?

The Iraqi government’s austerity plan has now reached civil servants, raising fears of an uncertain future in light of the plunging oil revenues and increasing military expenses in the fight against the Islamic State.
Staff from the South Oil Company (SOC) demonstrate to demand higher salaries and better benefits, in Basra, 420 km (261 miles) southeast of Baghdad, February 19, 2013.     REUTERS/Atef Hassan (IRAQ - Tags: CIVIL UNREST ENERGY) - RTR3DZET
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BAGHDAD — Plunging oil prices are now affecting ordinary civil servants’ salaries in Iraq. Al-Monitor met with an employee of the Ministry of Culture who, on condition of anonymity, shared his plan of submitting a request to take a one-year leave of absence without pay once he finds a job in the private sector to make up for the government salary. Rumors that civil servants may end up not being paid in the coming months are the result of a 3% reduction in their salaries as of January, which is helping fund the Popular Mobilization Units in their war against the Islamic State (IS).

In regard to the situation of Iraq’s civil servants, he said, “Cuts in civil servants’ salaries have caused discontent in the Iraqi street and resulted in some employees resigning, either to work abroad or in the private sector, because their salaries are not even enough to pay rent.”

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