Workers strike at Kuwait airport for better working conditions

The right to strike is guaranteed for its citizens but foreign workers, who make up a major portion of Kuwait’s labor force, do not have the right to strike. Above, the Kuwaiti international airport. (AFP)
Updated 11 November 2019

Workers strike at Kuwait airport for better working conditions

  • Monday’s strike by Kuwaiti staff did not affect flights, officials said
  • The right to strike is guaranteed for citizens in Kuwait, but such actions remain rare in the Gulf country

KUWAIT CITY: Hundreds of workers at Kuwait’s international airport held a one-hour strike Monday to demand better working conditions, threatening to stage longer walkouts in the coming days.
Ahmed Mohammed Al-Kandari, a union representative, said workers were calling for improved treatment and to be compensated for daily exposure to pollution and noise.
Monday’s strike by Kuwaiti staff did not affect flights, officials said.
The right to strike is guaranteed for citizens in Kuwait, but such actions remain rare in the Gulf country.
Foreign workers do not have the right to strike.
“Airport traffic is very normal,” Sheikh Salman Al-Hamoud Al-Sabah, head of the General Directorate of Civil Aviation, said.
Another official, Saleh Al-Fadaghi, the airport’s director of operations, also said flights were not affected.
“During the one-hour strike, 19 flights were operated as scheduled. There were five departures and 14 arrivals,” he said.
Kandari said the purpose of the strike was not to disrupt operations but “to make our voices heard.”
He added that Kuwaiti workers would hold a further two-hour strike on Wednesday and a 24-hour strike on Sunday if their demands are not met.
Of 4,500 civil aviation employees, 1,500 took part in Monday’s strike, he said.


Israel strikes Hamas positions in Gaza over fire balloons

Updated 21 min 36 sec ago

Israel strikes Hamas positions in Gaza over fire balloons

JERUSALEM: The Israeli military said Wednesday it carried out overnight strikes on Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip after incendiary balloons were launched across the border from the Palestinian enclave.
The army said the strikes were “retaliation” for the launching of multiple balloons from the Hamas-run enclave in recent days.
Jets, attack helicopters and tanks struck a number of Hamas targets including “underground infrastructure and observation posts,” a statement said.
Fire services in southern Israel said the balloons caused 60 fires on Tuesday alone but reported no casualties.
Explosives tied to balloons and kites first emerged as a weapon in Gaza during intense protests in 2018, when the makeshift devices drifted across the border daily, causing thousands of fires in Israeli farms and communities.
Israel has closed its Kerem Shalom goods crossing with the Gaza Strip in response to the recent balloon launches.
Hamas denounced the closure as an “aggressive” move that showed Israel’s “insistence on laying siege” to Gaza, and warned it could cause further worsening of the humanitarian situation in the territory.
As the Kerem Shalom crossing closed, the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt opened Tuesday for the first time since April.
Traffic in both directions was to be permitted for three days, allowing Gazans to leave the enclave for the first time since the start of the pandemic.
The Rafah crossing provides Gaza’s sole access to the outside world not controlled by Israel.
The Palestinian territory has been under an Israeli blockade since 2007.
Hamas and Israel have fought three wars since 2008.
Despite a truce last year, backed by the UN, Egypt and Qatar, the two sides clash sporadically with rockets, mortar fire or incendiary balloons.
Palestinian analysts say cross-border fire from Gaza is often used as a bargaining tool to secure Israel’s green light for the entry of Qatari financial aid into the territory.