Kuwait - Oil Strike - threats of strike busting (2012)

In September, workers from private oil companies and the Ministry of Oil staged a sit-in front of the ministry’s headquarters to demand equal treatment with workers at the state run Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) and its subsidiaries. The government had increased wages for state oil workers after a short strike and this triggered strikes in other sectors over wages and other benefits. According to the Chairman of the Union of Private Oil Sector Workers Salem Al-Ajmi, the 5,000 workers in private oil companies often receive delayed wages, have no health insurance and work excessive hours in contrast to other oil workers despite a law stipulating equality. The union had previously asked for a meeting with the Minister twice but did not reportedly receive a response. In November the government warned striking oil workers that it would recruit outside replacements to confront the strike that disrupted shipping traffic. Although Kuwait is OPEC’s fourth biggest oil exporter, officials say the country cannot afford to significantly boost the payroll of its huge public sector.

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