Worker accommodations in Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh unfit for living: PAM

An investigation team from the Public Authority for Manpower (PAM) that inspected several buildings housing expatriates in the Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh area came across various violations in housing conditions, especially in the so-called ‘worker accommodations’ provided by companies for their employees.

The consensus from the visit by PAM personnel was that the housing provided for workers were generally unfit for living in. Most of the buildings were overcrowded, had poor cleanliness, lacked proper sanitary facilities, and the buildings themselves were in a dilapidated condition. PAM inspectors also came across several irregularities as some of the workers had transformed their housing into unlicensed mini workshops doing all kinds of work, while others had turned them into makeshift groceries.

The Deputy Director for Planning and Administrative Development at PAM Iman Al-Ansari speaking on the sidelines of the visit said the inspections said that they had noticed several cases of  irregularities and violations of residence and labor laws. She also stressed on the need to ensure that the housing, health and safety of workers were in accordance with international standards.

She added that current labor cities which have been planned by the government are not enough to provide housing to all the laborers, and hoped that private companies would respond to the need to establish labor cities for all workers who are recruited by private contractors, especially those working on government projects.

She pointed out the inspection campaign had been ongoing on for two weeks and was now in its third and final week, and that a comprehensive report will be issued at the end of the week on the number of irregularities that have been monitored, which “we hope will result in addressing and applying all the standards of health and safety on the existing housings.”

Regarding the actions taken against companies that do not provide adequate housing for workers, she explained that there are a lot of decisions starting from issuing the first warning, stopping the license and closing the file of the company. She added that all inspectors are engineers and have the status of judicial control, so they are legally authorized to enter these dwellings.

Elaborating on the planned labor cities, Al-Ansari said, “There is a tendency to establish labor cities. We have already visited some of the high-level labor cities in Kuwait in order to emulate them and establish large labor cities at the same level.”

For his part, the Director of the National Center for Occupational Health and Safety, Nayef Tami, said the campaign, which was organized by the center included, Blocks 1, 2, 3, 4, 13 and 21, in Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh. As for addressing other government authorities regarding violations in the area, Tami explained that the matter concerns the Higher Committee for Safety, which includes several government agencies such as PAM, the Kuwait Municipality, Environment Protection Authority, ministries of Commerce and Industry and Health. He said 80 percent of the shops operating in the area do not have a license and 70 percent of the workers are violators of residence and labor laws.