Kuwait - Strikes occur despite restrictions – government bans strikes (2011)

Strikes are increasing despite being only allowed in the private sector, which is not organised, is very small and is mostly composed of foreigners. For example in April oil workers protested against privatisation plans and wages; in June the Kuwait Trade Union Federation held a demonstration to protest against what it called the government’s selective method of awarding salary increases; in August around 185 bus drivers went on strike over a recent pay cut of KWD 50; and in November baggage handlers and airport cleaners went on strike.

After a spate of strikes the government restated that all strikes must be kept within the law, which bans strikes from affecting the running of the country or endangering national security. It also threatened to take legal action against any workers who overstep the boundaries. In May the government banned all trade unions from holding strikes and sit-ins, reportedly saying that they «delay development plans, disrupts the workflow of government bodies and reflect negatively on Kuwait». Trade Unions protested against this move and the Kuwait Trade Union Federation (KTUF) held a press conference on 29 May to protest.

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