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Kuwait Doesn't Allow Migrants to Form Labor Unions

On March 31, 2010

Migrant workers in Kuwait are not allowed to form labor unions or work syndicates, while Kuwaiti employers were granted this right in the emirate's new labor law.

Much criticism has been leveled against Kuwait's new labor law, which was passed late last year, for not going far enough and abolishing the Sponsorship system, for not include domestic workers under its protection, or for not setting a minimum wage requirement. Another downside of the new law, which highlights its discriminatory nature, is the prohibition on creating labor unions which applies to Kuwaiti and expatriate employees, but not Kuwaiti employers. Migrants are also not allowed to form syndicate organizations, unlike their Kuwaiti counterparts, leaving them with no ability whatsoever to unionize and demand their rights in a collective fashion.

Iftikar, a Pakistani worker who was recently interviewed by the Kuwait Times stated that the law is pro-Kuwaiti and pro-employers adding that "this is of course a clear violation of our rights as expatriates. As if we are not a part and will not be affected by whatever decisions are made in the company. The law is very selective; the law pertaining to labor unions discriminates expatriates against local workers".