Coronavirus in KuwaitKuwait

Tough times for workers: Salary cuts, unpaid vacations as work slows down

By Ben Garcia

KUWAIT: Several workers from various companies in Kuwait are experiencing tough times and are wondering whether they will get their salaries for this month and the next. One company forced its employees to resign, others offered vacations without pay, while some completely stopped work without pay for workers. There are also workers who are staying at home but receiving salaries.

“My company said they will pay us and told us to stay at home until the crisis is over. Thank God my company understands,” said Amador, a salesman at a Salmiya mall. “What is missing in our salary is the commission plus overtime. For me, I need those too, because I am paying for my condominium back in my country. Now, I will only get the regular salary, which is barely enough to pay my house rent and a little to send to my family home,” he said.

A bilingual school teacher also received her salary early this month; however, she is afraid for her April salary. “The ministry has assured they will give us the salary, but at the end of the day, it’s the decision of the management that will prevail. After the submission of grades, we were told to take our vacation, since the government decided to completely suspend classes until August. We will go back to our countries once flights resume,” she said.

There are some workers in Kuwait whose jobs are considered as part-time. Although illegal, they used to thrive, but are now the most affected by the crisis. “My problem is that I bought my visa from a Kuwaiti man,” said Lovely, who works as tea-girl at a school canteen, at a Filipino restaurant in Salmiya and as a cleaner at a clinic in Maidan Hawally.

“I do three different jobs as a part-timer; all these jobs are now no longer operational because of the coronavirus. Now it means I will not get any money this month and the next because they are all closed. I am afraid because I have a child here, and I don’t know where to get money from – the money I get from three jobs is barely enough for us,” she rued.

Another worker, Meliza, has also been informed by her company that her March salary will be cut in half. “I work in a flower shop, but they have told me since there are no regular orders from our hotel customers, they cannot provide me with the whole salary,” she said. “I understand the situation but I also have expenses, and I don’t wish crises like these to happen,” she said.

Back to top button