On May Day la­bor­ers de­mand bet­ter life­style

The Kurdish Globe - - NATIONAL -

La­bor­ers march in Su­laimani to ask the KRG and the pri­vate sec­tor com­pa­nies to give the low-paid work­ers bet­ter safety con­di­tions and higher wage.

Many of the low-paid work­ers crit­i­cize the Kur­dis­tan Re­gional Govern­ment (KRG) and pri­vate sec­tor com­pa­nies on La­bor Day due to lack of safety con­di­tions and poor qual­ity life­style. Ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cial fig­ures from the Kur­dis­tan Work­ers Syn­di­cate (KWS), around 78 work­ers have been killed due to the lack of stan­dard­ized safety mea­sures at work.

Mo­hammed Kad­him, 37, who is a low-paid worker, says that he has to work on La­bor Day due to hav­ing a poor qual­ity life­style. He de­mands the KRG puts pres­sure on the job-own­ers to im­prove work­ing con­di­tions for the work­ers.

“De­mand­ing higher wage, bet­ter ben­e­fits, and for the right to be treated like a hu­man be­ing is not too much,” he said, adding that he is an ex­am­ple of a “larger dis­heart­ened and ne­glected com­mu­nity”.

He fur­ther added that the prob­lem has a broader in­ter­na­tional di­men­sion be­cause he heard about many la­bor­ers protest across the world. But he said that the KRG and its rel­e­vant min­istries can re­solve at least part of their prob­lem.

Ad­dress­ing the KRG and pri­vate sec­tor com­pa­nies in­di­rectly, Kad­him said: “The slav­ery era is not over. Work­ing for more than 12 hours per day with a low wage is like slav­ery.”

He fur­ther said that he wit­nessed a col­league who died as a re­sult of lack of safety con­di­tions. He calls for higher salary by the job own­ers, adding that the coun­try is boom­ing and de­spite this the la­bor class has be­come poorer.

Mo­ham­mad Qarad­khi, Sec­re­tary for Kur­dis­tan Coun­cil of Min­is­ters, an­nounced that May 1st is La­bor Day and a pub­lic hol­i­day by all gov­ern­men­tal in­sti­tu­tions.

Has­san Ra­madan, Spokesper­son for the Er­bil’s KWS, has said that the worker death toll has risen this year com­pared to last year. “Around eight work­ers died last year, while seven work­ers died only in the first quar­ter of 2013.”

He fur­ther stated that the num­ber of the for­eign la­bor­ers has mounted year af­ter year, adding that there are around 14, 560 for­eign la­bor­ers in Er­bil.

How­ever, Kur­dis­tan Par­lia­ment amended La­bor Law which is in the in­ter­est of work­ers, but they still be­lieve that the law has not so far ben­e­fited them.

Khalil Ka­reem, an Arab worker from the prov­ince of Nin­eveh, works in Er­bil and be­lieves that the work­ers live in a very aw­ful sit­u­a­tion, adding that they have no rights, and are dis­re­spected.

How­ever, lack of so­cial in­sur­ance makes the sit­u­a­tion harder for the work­ers. Ac­cord­ing to the KRG’s La­bor Law, em­ploy­ers are legally re­spon­si­ble for pay­ing 12% of the in­sur­ance, the worker 5% and the govern­ment has to pay 30% per­cent of the in­sur­ance. Fe­male work­ers have the right to take ma­ter­nity leave with their wage saved in the pri­vate sec­tor com­pa­nies, the law reads. La­bor­ers march In ad­di­tion, hun­dreds of work­ers marched and chanted en mass in the se­cond largest Kur­dish prov­ince of Su­laimani on Wed­nes­day, chant­ing slo­gans such as “Kur­dis­tan Par­lia­ment where are la­bor­ers' rights?” The demon­stra­tion or­ga­nized by Kur­dis­tan Com­mu­nist Part.

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