Iraqis getting wages?

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Posted by Sadie from D007020.N1.Vanderbilt.Edu ( on Tuesday, May 27, 2003 at 0:41AM :

I heard today (May 26) on NPR's Morning Edition that Iraqi soldiers were protesting, as they STILL haven't received any wages. How will they feed their families? This is about some other Iraqis who have been lucky enough to be paid.... They are all being paid according to the schedule that a U.S. general thinks ought to be followed. How horrible - reducing the people to beg for their own honest wages so that they can feed themselves & their own families, while corporate assholes recline in luxury elsewhere in this world!
Iraqis paid first wages since war
Saturday, 24 May, 2003
BBC News Online

State employees in Iraq have received their first wages since the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime.

About 6,000 electricity workers in Baghdad were the first to be paid, while other government employees will be paid in the next few days.

Workers trying to restore Baghdad's power, which was badly damaged in the war, were given priority because they had threatened to go on strike.

The wages are being paid in 10,000 dinar notes, bearing the face of the former Iraqi dictator.

Scramble for cash

The salaries were gathered from the Rafidain state bank in central Baghdad, as a tank and military vehicles stood guard outside.

They were taken to a power station in the south of the city, where armed US soldiers had to control a crowd of workers jostling as they waited to receive their wages.

"We have all been working for some time and this is the first money we are getting from our salaries," said Karim Hassan, the head of Iraq's electricity commission.

The BBC's Barbara Plett, who visited a market in Baghdad, said that while fresh meat and vegetables are available, people could not buy the goods because they were not getting paid.

General Jay Garner, the occupation administration second-in-command, said the first payments were a "good start" and that all state employees will be paid by 3 June.

Salaries doubled

Under the new payment scheme, most salaries will be raised while bonuses paid to former Saddam Hussein loyalists will be scrapped.

Teachers and doctors will be paid twice as much as under the former regime, while payments to security services will be slashed.

Payments for state employees will eventually range between $80 and $400 a month.

The wages are being paid out of Iraqi assets frozen in the United States since Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990.

-- Sadie
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