Workers in Kuwait end violent strike; Government increases minimum wage

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Aug 1 2008

After days of violent protests that left tens injured and hundreds arrested and facing an imminent threat of deportation, workers in Kuwait ended a violent strike that was sparked by their poor living conditions. he workers, mostly of Bangladeshi origin, destroyed equipment and assaulted workers demanding an improvement of work conditions and a commitment from their employers to pay their wages on time.

Workers were promised of 40 Kuwaiti Dinar (KD) a month but were paid only KD18. The companies also used to deduct health and residency fees from that salary and did not allow weekly holiday or two-yearly vacations. The Daily Star

Violence only ebbed after the Kuwaiti government pledged an increase in minimum wage and vowed to take tougher measures against companies found abusing their employees.

Abdullah al-Roumi, the labour ministry's deputy, said he would present a draft law to scrap Kuwait's sponsorship system, under which expatriates must be sponsored by a local employer to get a work permit. Al Jazeera

Every year, Gulf countries are hit by tens of strikes that lead to significant monetary and human losses. The violence only erupts after the pleas of workers are ignored for weeks. Simple measures that ensure companies abide by governmental standards and treat their workers in a humane, respectful manner, instead of resorting to violent clampdowns to deter future strikes, are the true solution to the problem.

Update: Here is an associated news clipping from Gulf Daily News.

Advancing the rights of migrant workers throughout the Middle East