Co-op workers who survive on customer tips

Many people employed to help stuff bags at check-out counters in cooperative societies are reported to be working without salaries and relying solely on the meager tips they receive from customers to make a living.

This violation of labor law came to light when it was revealed that these workers are not staff of the cooperatives, but are employed by third-party contractors who supply laborers to the co-ops.   Some of these workers hired through reprobate third-party contractors, are not paid regular salaries and instead have to survive with the tips they receive from customers.

Besides not paying any salaries to these workers, the crooked contractors are said to force each worker to pay KD60 a month as an ‘employment fee’. This gross violation of labor laws, where the employee has to pay the employer each month is shocking beyond belief, said one co-op customer.

The tips these workers receive for ferrying purchased goods from the check-out counter to the vehicle of shoppers can range from a quarter-dinar to one-dinar. On average, a worker who toils for eight hours or more a day can hope to make KD100 to KD150 a month, depending on the location of the coop. From this pittance, he has to first set aside KD60 to pay his employer, which leaves him with KD40 to KD90 a month. With this small amount he has to take care of his food, lodging and sundry expenses, as well as send money back home to take care of his family and relatives.

Meanwhile it has been reported that the Public Authority for Manpower and the Ministry of Social Affairs are preparing to undertake a new set of procedures this month to terminate the contracts of expatriates working in various co-op societies around Kuwait. This move follows pressure from parliamentarians calling for resolving the demographic imbalance in the country. The termination and deportation procedures are said to start with loaders and cleaning workers in the co-ops.