Kuwait Times, Thursday, May 25, 2023 | Thul-Qidah 5, 1444
Kuwait Airways employees strike for better pay
The Workers’ Union of Kuwait Airways and
Subsidiaries organized a two-hour partial strike on Monday in protest against
low salaries, non-disbursement of rewards to frontline workers, tampering with
workers’ rights and squandering their earnings. Head of the union Talal
Al-Hajeri said the partial strike is a first step, and in the event that
employees’ demands are not met, they will resort to escalatory steps, including
stopping air traffic until all demands are approved.
Hajeri explained salaries of Kuwaiti employees at Kuwait Airways do not exceed
KD 800, while new foreign employees are given salaries of up to KD 4,000, in
addition to KD 250 in road allowance. He wondered why a road allowance is given
in a small country such as Kuwait.
Hajeri spoke about the continuous disregard for Kuwaiti employees’ dues, adding
the union is keen on preventing employees from entering into disputes with
foreign colleagues. “But what’s clear is that the administration’s policy is
intentional in its provocation of Kuwaiti employees to lead them into mistakes
with their new colleagues, which will expose them to accountability and legal
actions against them,” he alleged.
The union’s secretary Fahd Mansour Ajmi said repeated claims that were submitted
to the company’s board of directors were repeatedly ignored. He said this
partial strike came as a result of an extraordinary general assembly meeting
that was held recently, where it was approved to pay a salary increase to a
certain number of senior department officials and not the rest of Kuwaiti
employees, indicating that when the decision was objected, the response from the
board of directors to the objectors was to go back to government employment.
Ajmi appealed through the media to the Cabinet to restore the rights of the
strikers, considering Kuwait Airways is not a private airline owned by
individuals, but a government carrier.
Chief Instructor of Pilots at Kuwait Airways Captain Mowaffaq Al-Maoud warned
there will be no flights next week if their demands are not met or if employees
are prevented from organizing another sit-in. Maoud added that Kuwait Airways
employees still do not know whether they fall under the private sector or the
government. “If we belong to the private sector, labor support must be
disbursed. If we belong to the government sector, we demand equitable salaries
and rights with other government sectors,” he said.
Earlier, the company’s labor union had called on employees for a “civilized”
partial strike that does not to drift into chaos. The union indicated the aim of
the strike was to deliver a peaceful and civilized message and that the national
carrier will not be exposed to risk of operational safety.
Late Sunday, Kuwait Airways has assured its customers that the partial strike
will not affect passenger movement or airport operations. The national carrier
affirmed it is coordinating with the interior ministry and the Directorate
General of Civil Aviation to achieve this goal. It urged customers to abide by
their flight schedules and follow up messages sent to them about any changes. It
also appealed to customers to communicate with the airline’s official channels
for any inquiry.