Kuwait airport workers stage mass walk-out just days after rare protests

Kuwait airport workers stage mass walk-out just days after rare protests
Thousands of Kuwaiti airport workers launched a strike to demand better working conditions, threatening further action if their calls are not heard.
2 min read
11 November, 2019
Hundreds protested against government corruption in Kuwait last week [Getty]
Thousands of workers at Kuwait's international airport held a one-hour strike on Monday to demand better working conditions, threatening to stage longer walkouts in the coming days.

The walk-out follows an anti-corruption demonstration staged in the capital on Wednesday, in which hundreds called for the speaker of parliament Marzouq al-Ghanim to step down.

Ahmed Mohammed al-Kandari, an aviation union representative, said workers were calling for improved treatment and to be compensated for daily exposure to pollution and noise.

Monday's strike by Kuwaiti staff did not affect flights, officials said.

The right to strike is guaranteed for citizens in Kuwait, but such actions remain rare in the Gulf country. 

Foreign workers however lack the right to strike along with a host of basic workers' rights.  

"Airport traffic is very normal," Sheikh Salman Al-Hamoud Al-Sabah, head of the General Directorate of Civil Aviation, told AFP

Another official, Saleh Al-Fadaghi, the airport's director of operations, also said flights were not affected. 

"During the one-hour strike, 19 flights were operated as scheduled. There were five departures and 14 arrivals," he told AFP

Kandari said the purpose of the strike was not to disrupt operations but "to make our voices heard". 

He added that Kuwaiti workers would hold a further two-hour strike on Wednesday and a 24-hour strike on Sunday if their demands are not met. 

Of 4,500 civil aviation employees, 1,500 took part in Monday's strike, he said. 

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