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.


Kuwait expects nearly 1.5 million expats to leave by end of year

Updated 11 July 2020

Kuwait expects nearly 1.5 million expats to leave by end of year

  • Over 158,000 expat workers have already left the country
  • The Egyptian and Indian expats communities were hit the hardest

DUBAI: Almost 1.5 million expatriate workers are expected to leave Kuwait by year’s end as economic slowdown due to the coronavirus pandemic forced companies to cut their workforce to save on costs and remain afloat.
Likewise, the government’s decision to lower the number of expats living in the country, through a new residency law, and its continuing Kuwaitization of jobs in the public sector also hit migrant workers.
Over 158,000 expat workers have already left the country only in a span of 116 days, or from March 16 until July 9, many of whom have been laid off because of the coronavirus crisis, local newspaper Arab Times reported.
The Egyptian and Indian expats communities were hit the hardest, the report said.
The draft of Kuwait’s new residency law would limit the number of foreign nationals recruited by companies each year and will include regulations based on their skills, Interior Minister Anas Al-Saleh was earlier reported as saying.
The Kuwait parliament aims to have the legislation ready by October, prior to the November elections.