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Oil workers plan to strike over pay cut

KUWAIT CITY, Jan 29, (AFP): Thousands of oil workers in OPEC member Kuwait plan to go on strike over a government decision to cut their wages, the head of the oil workers union said Wednesday. “Trade unions of all oil companies have taken a decision to go on strike and authorised me to announce the date of the strike which will be determined within the next two days,” Abdulaziz al-Sharthan told AFP.

“After making a number of legal procedures, I will set the date of the strike which will be within two weeks,” he said after lengthly talks Tuesday night with new Oil Minister Ali Al-Omair and top oil executives “ended without resolving the problem.” Sharthan said the crisis was the result of a decision by Kuwait Petroleum Corp (KPC), the national oil conglomerate, to “cut some benefits and increments” from oil workers.

The minister and oil executives refused to scrap the decision during the meeting and “tried to add some cosmetic procedures to it which we did not accept,” he said. The two-week period is to give the government a final ultimatum to withdraw the decision and then negotiate the dispute with the oil trade unions, Sharthan said.

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