Most of Iraq's remaining 40,000 anti-Qaeda militiamen have seen their pay cut by 20 percent this year following a decision by parliament, an aide to Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki told AFP on Tuesday.
"I have been obliged to reduce by 20 percent the wages of Sahwa (Awakening) members who earn more than 200,000 dinars ($158/120 euros) a month, although the remainder will not see their pay cut," said Maliki's national reconciliation adviser Amir al-Khuzai.
"I was forced to take this decision after the parliamentary finance committee cut by a third the national reconciliation budget for 2012 which had initially been earmarked to total 239 billion dinars ($190 million)," he said.
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"It is the committee that is responsible for this situation."
The Sahwa were formed from among Sunni Arab tribesmen and former rebels who joined forces with the US military against Al-Qaeda from late 2006, helping turn the tide of the insurgency.
The Shiite-led government has a policy of trying to find them new jobs in the regular security forces or elsewhere in the public sector and their numbers are now down to just under 40,000 from a peak of some 87,000 four years ago.
"We are trying to integrate the rest in the public sector," Khuzai said.