Labour minister says Kuwait is determined to introduce minimum wage in private sector

April 1, 2010

Kuwait is working on introducing a minimum wage in the private sector for expatriates in the private sector to ensure decent living conditions for them, the labour minister has said.

“Kuwait is keen on protecting human rights and dignity and wants to move forward after it enacted a new labour law for the private sector and a law for the handicapped,” Mohammad Al Afassi said.

The labour law protects workers’ rights and achievements while the law for the handicapped provides security and stability for the handicapped and their families, the minister was quoted as saying by the local media.

“We are also working on scrapping the sponsorship system in order to preserve workers’ rights from abuses,” he said. “The government is currently working with the competent committee in the parliament on enacting a law that would criminalize trafficking in people and impose stiff penalties on violators,” said Al Afassi who is also in charge of the social affairs portfolio.

Expatriates who suffer abuse or violence or denied their financial dues will be hosted in a special shelter as their problems are being sorted out, the minister said.

The labour and social development ministry will ensure that women workers are not subjected to any form of restrictions while performing their duties and that women’s working conditions are improved to meet international standards, he said.

Al Afassi has been spearheading a movement to improve the working and living conditions of hundreds of thousands of expatriates, mainly from Asia and working in the booming construction sector.

However, the minister’s efforts are being resisted by private companies keen on lucrative contracts, but without proper consideration for their employees.

According to “International labor migration: A rights-based approach”, a study published this week by the Geneva-based International Labour Organisation, Kuwait ranks third worldwide in the countries with the highest proportion of migrant workers.

The study found that Qatar, UAE, Kuwait and Jordan are the top four countries on the list of the proportion of migrant workers.

The study said that the dearth of “decent jobs” in the developing world that are not “created fast enough to absorb the growing numbers of people ready to join the labour force every year” have in a way created a demand for employment in other countries.




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About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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