Kuwait MPs urge measures to halt abuses of foreign labour


In a report to parliament, the committee called for the creation of an independent authority to oversee workers who are currently supervised by the social affairs and labour ministry.

The report is due to be debated in an emergency session of parliament to be held on Wednesday following violent protests by foreign workers over pay and living conditions.

The report outlined the main abuses faced by foreign workers, saying that low pay and delayed payment or non-payment of wages topped a long list of abuses.

It also said that some foreign workers are deprived of appropriate accommodation and transport, forced to work overtime without pay and deprived of weekend rest and annual leave.

In some cases, labourers are not paid during sick leave or annual leave, the report said. Some workers are forced to pay residence and other charges which employers are supposed to pay.

All these and many other rights are stipulated in the emirate’s labour law but are not implemented. The report called for strict implementation of the law.

The committee also said that some employers force workers to sign a document acknowledging they have received all their financial rights.

Thousands of Bangladeshi workers mounted violent demonstrations in July to demand better pay and living conditions. Police rounded up and later deported around 1,000 of them.

Oil-rich Kuwait is home to 2.35 million foreigners, more than two-thirds of them Asians.

Following the unrest, the Kuwaiti government decided to introduce a mininum monthly wage of 40 dinars (150 dollars) for cleaners and 70 dinars (261 dollars) for security guards.

The decision, however, applies only to those working for companies on government contracts.

The average monthly pay for Kuwaiti citizens is around 1,000 dinars (3,740 dollars).

MPs and activists have blamed the abuse of foreign labour on the so-called visa traders who facilitate the entry of foreigners into Kuwait for money without giving them jobs.


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