Kuwait Airways Workers Begin Strike Over Low Salaries, Threaten Escalation if Demands Not Met

The Workers’ Union of Kuwait Airways and Subsidiaries went on a two-hour partial strike on Monday to highlight grievances such as low salaries, non-disbursement of rewards, tampering with workers’ rights and the squandering of their earnings, according to reports.

In a show of discontent and frustration, the head of the union, Talal Al-Hajeri, emphasised that the partial strike was just the first step, and further escalatory measures, including potentially halting air traffic, would be taken if the demands were not met. However, Kuwait Airways, in response to the strike, assured its customers that passenger movement and airport operations would not be affected.

“Kuwait Airways would like to inform its valued customers that the partial strike carried out by some members of the Workers Union outside Terminal 4 today, May 2023, 22, has ended and all flights left normally and above typical departure times. We thank Kuwait Airways, the Ministry of Interior, and the General Administration of Civil Aviation for their tireless efforts and unlimited cooperation in ensuring security and providing personalised service to our valued customers,” the airline said via Twitter.

The airline emphasised its coordination with the interior ministry and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation to ensure the smooth functioning of operations. Customers were urged to adhere to their flight schedules and stay updated on any changes through official communication channels.

Al-Hajeri pointed out the stark salary discrepancies, revealing that Kuwaiti employees at Kuwait Airways earn no more than KD 800, while new foreign employees receive salaries of up to KD 4,000, along with a road allowance of KD 250. He questioned the rationale behind providing a road allowance in a small country like Kuwait.

Expressing concern over the disregard for Kuwaiti employees’ dues, Al-Hajeri alleged that the administration intentionally provokes Kuwaiti workers to incite conflicts with their foreign colleagues, potentially leading to legal consequences for the Kuwaiti employees.

“But what’s clear is that the administration’s policy is intentional in its provocation of Kuwaiti employees to lead them into mistakes with their new colleagues, which will expose them to accountability and legal actions against them,” he said.

Fahd Mansour Ajmi, the union’s secretary, stated that the repeated claims submitted to the company’s board of directors had been “repeatedly ignored,” the report said. He highlighted that the partial strike was a direct result of a recent extraordinary general assembly meeting where a salary increase was approved for a select number of senior department officials, excluding the majority of Kuwaiti employees.

The response from the board of directors to the objectors was reportedly to return to government employment, further fueling the workers’ grievances.

Captain Mowaffaq Al-Maoud, the Chief Instructor of Pilots at Kuwait Airways, warned that if their demands were not met or if employees were prevented from organizing another sit-in, there would be no flights next week. He emphasized the need for clarity regarding the employment status of Kuwait Airways employees, calling for equitable salaries and rights comparable to those in other government sectors.


Arabian Business

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