Strike by workers reveals ineffectiveness of labor laws

More than 150 workers locally contracted by the Ministry of Communications to deliver postal mail in Kuwait have been on strike complaining of non-payment of salaries.

Strike by workers of the contracting company once again reveals the ugly face of human trafficking in Kuwait, as well as the blatant violation of labor laws, and their recruitment in return for money.

The workers, mostly Egyptians, claim that each of them paid the equivalent of KD500 before signing their contract and obtaining their work visas from the private company. They added that the monthly wage mentioned in the contract was KD100 plus free accommodation, but on arriving in Kuwait they were paid only KD75 and the company said it was deducting KD25 monthly as housing expenses.

Moreover, the workers alleged that some of them had not been paid monthly salaries for the last four months, and that company officials had threatened them by saying their salaries would be put on hold and that money would be deducted for the number of days they do not report for work.

They stated the residence permit of the 120 striking workers has expired while some others who have been arrested and imprisoned by the police are threatened with deportation because they were caught without residence permit.

The workers pointed out the problem is not only about residence permit, some of them were arrested for driving with an expired driver’s license and were actually sent to the deportation center, but they were released later after proving they are hired upon a government contract.

The employees also say the company violates the labor regulations by depositing and withdrawing money from their bank accounts using their ATM cards to show the Public Authority for Manpower that it is committed to the payment of monthly salaries, but in reality, the workers have no proof that they do not receive salaries, since the bank cards are in the company’s possession.

The workers added that their strike would continue and would not be the last in light of the injustices that they have suffered from the company.