Bangladeshi workers in Kuwait call off strike after salary hike
The labour department of Kuwait declared increasing monthly salary to 40 Kuwaiti Dinners (KD) for around 8,000 Bangladeshi workers leading to withdrawal of their indefinite strike they began last Sunday in protest of labour exploitation.
The department also directed the alleged Kuwaiti company to implement the government order strictly in three days and warned of taking serious actions against the company if workers make further complaints, Shahriar Kader Siddiky, labour counsellor of Bangladesh Embassy in Kuwait, told The Daily Star over telephone Wednesday evening.
“The regional chief of Kuwait's labour department came to the company site and declared that all the workers irrespective of their projects would get monthly salaries of KD40. The striking workers agreed to it and joined the work Wednesday afternoon,” he said.
These cleaning workers employed by The Wael Nufis Trading Company and assigned under the projects of various government ministries like education, health, interior, municipalities and oil went on strike, alleging irregular and underpayments, charging fees to renew residency permits and for health insurance.
They also alleged that the company did not pay for overtime work or allow weekly holidays, rather charged KD30 for getting passports back from the company for going on vacation and charged KD150 to KD180 (one KD=Tk258) from each worker for delay in joining work after vacation.
Kuwait Society for Human Rights (KSHR) KSHR Chairperson Ali Al-Baghli on Tuesday at a press conference said, “We are all witnessing protests by labourers who do not get their salaries even though their salaries are minuscule and that is due to the greed of some Kuwaitis.”
Asked why the Bangladeshis working in that company did not go to the labour court, as they were paid only KD18, instead of KD50 they were promised, Shahriar Siddiky told The Daily Star the workers are forced to sign contract papers, which are different from those signed before leaving Bangladesh.