KUWAIT: Labor-related problems and complaints are normal in a country like Kuwait where nearly 1,300,000 workers reside, a senior government official said. Jamal Al-Dousary, the General Director of the Labor Public Authority, was responding to remarks that nearly 15,000 complaints of “unpaid wages and benefits” have emerged in Kuwait, mentioned in a recent Washington Post report citing Migrant Rights – a non-profit organization that reports the conditions of migrant workers in the Middle East. “The labor disputes office received nearly 8,000 complaints [last year],” said Dousary in statements to Al-Rai Tuesday. “The complaints ranged from delayed payments, passport confiscation, failure to approve visa transfer papers, etc.” He said that the newly-established labor authority has its doors wide open to receive labor-related complaints. “The authority will not hesitate to intervene as soon as possible in order to find solutions that protect the rights of workers and employers at the same time,” he said.
Separately, workers hired by a contracting company that has a contract with the Ministry of Public Works demonstrated outside the MPW building in South Surra Tuesday morning, claiming that they have not received their salaries since December. The same workers had protested last month and demanded that the company pay them their salaries that they had not received since May 2013.
The issue was resolved at the time after company officials agreed following a meeting with Minister of Public Works Abdulaziz Al-Ibrahim to pay the salaries. But the workers received wages of three months only, and protested again Tuesday after no cooperation from their employers, according to a ministry source quoted by Al-Qabas yesterday.
Also Tuesday, staff members at the rodents control department in the Ministry of Health demonstrated against the ministry’s reluctance to increase their salaries for as long as 12 years. The workers said in a statement that they won court orders against the ministry to increase their monthly wages from KD 165 to KD 265, adding that some employees were granted up to KD 15,000 retroactively. The ministry failed to compensate all employees, then demanded that all payments it had made before to be returned based on a court of cassation order, prompting the demonstration. A Health Ministry official confirmed that the protestors had won cases against the ministry before the ministry won a final court order to return all the money that the ministry had paid.