Kuwait: Chinese workers protest, demand six months pay

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Nov 25 2007

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KUWAIT: Around 280 Chinese laborers held a protest in front of the Chinese Embassy in Yarmouk yesterday. The men were protesting against their employer and demanding that their salaries, which some hadn't received in six months, be paid immediately. The protesting laborers were sitting and lying on the ground in front of the Chinese Embassy since the early morning and they held talks with officials from the embassy in the hopes of finding an answer to their problem.

Some of the striking laborers, who work as construction workers in Sulaybiya didn't receive their salaries in six months. As the laborers had their passports, they only wanted their financial rights. "We have been asking for our unpaid salaries for months, we can't go on working for free. I don't know if most of us would want to stay in Kuwait after we get our money, but I can tell you that we want our salaries now. We are still waiting for an answer from our embassy," said Lim Wu, one of the laborers who could speak a few words of Arabic.

Strikes and protests by laborers who haven't received their salaries in months are now becoming a common thing in Kuwait and across the Gulf. Firms often contract hundreds of workers at a time from abroad but then fail to pay them for their labor.

Today's headline article - Kuwait times

The strikes are becoming more frequent, every time different sectors of workers, different nationalities of workers, but each time for the same cause. It is clear; there is a great need for change in the existent migrant system, throughout the Gulf States. Laws that protect the workers and punish corrupt sponsors and agents should be enforced as soon as possible.

Countries that send these migrant workers should be more stringent on the protection of their nationals, they have to compel the Gulf States to take the matter more seriously, with serious action in force.

The migrant rights issue is an ongoing campaign that must be kept alive and strong till the governments take better care of the workers that build better, comfortable cities, streets and homes for them.

Advancing the rights of migrant workers throughout the Middle East