Kuwait - Military committee to deal with customs officials on strike (2012)

In October, more than 3,000 customs officers joined the wave of strikes, sharply escalating pressure on the government. The open-ended walkout froze shipping traffic in and out of ports and oil terminals and disrupted airport and land border crossing operations. After a two day strike customs officials called off their action after receiving government assurances their demands will be met. The authorities threatened to use the army and National Guard to replace striking workers and set up a military committee staffed by the Ministries of Interior and Defence, the National Guard and other authorities. The committee was criticised for failing to negotiate with workers and instead focusing only on threatening workers back to work. Government authorities promised that they would study the demands of the striking workers within a maximum of three months. Opposition MPs clashed with pro-government MPs over the reactions to the strike with many in the government calling for decisive action to stop the strike due to Kuwait’s dependence on imports and exports. The Kuwait Trade Union Federation (KTUF) repeated the Federation’s call for a high-level committee that would include the Council of Ministers, Labour and Social Affairs Ministry, the union movement and other stakeholders to examine the matter, rather than the intervention of the military.

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