Workers rights

This is about the ruthless behavior of a company management plus the fact they are challenging the Kuwait labor rules. This is a big violation of Kuwait labor laws.

We are all working for a security company. It is a British management company. In this company we have a cash-department. I have been working in this company for the last 10 years, in this cash department.
The company has a big contract for cash management with all major banks, and companies, ministries, shops etc all over Kuwait. About 120 million transactions are done in various locations every day. We are doing this all work: collection from all locations, all cash counting inside the company, and packing, delivering to all the locations, ATM machine replenishment etc, with a few workers. Every worker has to collect the cash from various  locations and count about KD 500,000  by hand every day. This is the nature of our duty. This is an intolerable duty for us.

For this duty we get a basic salary of KD 65 only. And some ‘change’ for overtime per hour. For the last 20 years the company has the same salary for the workers. After even 20 years the salary is only KD 65.
Now there has been a ten-time increase in the living costs in Kuwait. We asked the management for salary increase last year, but management terminated four workers, who were interested in the issue and spoke with the management. The company brings us on a security guard visa, and they force us to work in this department. They are practically torturing us.

Now cleaning companies are giving their workers over KD 65 as salary. The government has announced the minimum salary for cash-related jobs in Kuwait. But this company is challenging all Kuwait Labor Laws. KD 500 is not enough for this job. The management staff are getting a very high salary and they are getting every year a salary increase. The General Manager’s salary is about KD 8,000 with all allowances. We have to do work 16 to 24 hours every day without off. Even on Fridays the company gives us duty without holiday benefits.

Women are also doing compulsory day and night duty for about 12 to 18 hours every day without any off. We do not get sleeping time nor time for eating. Anybody who refuses overtime is getting punished with a salary deduction and no duty for next 3 days. So this company persecutes the workers mentally and physically.

The Ministry has not issued new visas to this company for the last 5 years. So now about 40% workers are on No. 20 visas (domestics). Now there is a shortage of about 200 labors in this department.

Almost all the workers have some disease due to tension and work load. We have to go on duty without A/Cs in armored vehicles in the summer. One staff died in a vehicle due to heart failure 3 years ago. One person was hospitalized with heart problems on duty a few days ago. But the management doesn’t care.
In Holy Ramadan the government announced 6 hours duty for all labor but we did not get this privilege from our company. This time also we got 16 to 24 hours duty. More workers are Muslim, but they did not get the time for prayers and, they cannot even fast in Ramadan.

What can we do? How can we get our rights?

Names withheld
Answer:
The only way out of this predicament is for all the workers to take a stand and report the issue to the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor and the various human rights organisations in the country. There are various organisations which are dealing with such issues.

But as you said, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor is not issuing any new visas to this company for the last five years which means it is aware of some violations. But it all depends on a case being filed against this firm. The ministry can also suspend the license of this firm if it learns that it is employing domestics.

So, unless you workers take the first step, the ministry or anyone else can do nothing.

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