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Kuwait admits abusive employers to blame for strikes

Kuwait admits abusive employers to blame for strikes

Kuwait promises to crack down on violators, but continues to deport strike ring-leaders. Giving workers a greater voice might prevent such confrontations.


August 3, 2008 9:04 by

Encouraging to see the Kuwaiti government admit last week’s strikes were partly the fault of abuses by employers – and its own lack of law enforcement. It’s usually the worker that gets the blame in labor disputes. Or outside forces. Or global circumstance.

In PR terms, fronting up to its responsibilities makes Kuwait look good.

Of course, Kuwait’s honesty did not prevent hundreds of Bangladeshi workers from being deported. Or critics from reminding the government that it has promised to crack down on abusive employers in the past.

In Abu Dhabi, disgruntled taxi drivers are being told to get back to work or face deportation. Their employer says he will listen to their complaints and take action if necessary, but he also makes sure to tell the media he suspects some of the drivers are not doing a full day’s work.

The common link is that it is the employer who leads the media. One wonders if much of this confrontation would be eased if the workers’ voice was heard more often. If the government only reacts once workers go on strike, surely that is encouraging more strikes.


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