KUWAIT: Dozens of government employees held an anti-union demonstration yesterday in front of the Public Authority for Manpower headquarters in Jabriya. According to eye witnesses, tens of youth were also on the scene and at least one claimed they were paid to ‘show up and support the protestors.’
The demonstrators intended to show support for a recent Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor decision aimed at reorganizing unions and labor syndicates in the country. The decision set up a new ‘unions’ executive’ chart and has been widely condemned by unions.
Salem Al-Ajmi, Chairman of Kuwait Trade Union Federation (KTUF) called for the implementation of the new ‘executive chart’ in order to break the monopoly of unions. The new regulations would allow others to to run for general assembly elections and cancel what they described as ‘impossible’ conditions set to prevent citizens from running for board elections. Ajmi added that the new chart was approved by the KTUF and that it matched all international agreements and union work. He also noted that the numbers of syndicate demonstrating against the new chart was very limited.
Several labor unions have held protests in front of the Manpower Authority in recent weeks against the new regulations. Labor syndicates of the State Audit Bureau, Kuwait Municipality and the Ministry of Electricity and Water have accused the Public Authority for Manpower of interfering in unions’ ‘internal’ affairs. They further warned that such interference would lead to a ‘catastrophe’ because it violates the constitution as well as international laws and agreements signed by Kuwait.