Iraq town erects monuments for cleaners

The tribute came as the cleaners had their wages cut

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An Iraqi town has erected monuments to honor the civil servants who keep it clean, while the provincial government has reportedly cut their wages.

“This is the simplest thing we can present to these heroes (the cleaners). They deserve the utmost respect and appreciation and they must be fairly treated as their wages must be increased through assigning them as permanent employees,” the municipality of Souq al-Shuyoukh, in Iraq’s Dhi Qar province, said in a statement on Sunday.

The municipality said it is the first in Iraq to take such a step to honor civil servants who keep public areas clean.

Despite the tribute paid to the cleaners, Dhi Qar’s provincial government this week issued an official letter to all the province’s municipalities ordering them to decrease the wages of cleaners, citing the need to cut expenses as the reason.

Street cleaners in Baghdad and other provinces have in recent days demanded to be assigned as permanent employees in order to improve their livelihood conditions and enjoy the right to security. The demand comes as they say their work has become dangerous due to armed groups targeting them and due to the uptick in violence plaguing Iraq.

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