KAC workers stage sit-in for rights

Pilots and engineers protest, seek rights

KUWAIT CITY, Jan 9: Several Kuwait Airways Corporation (KAC) employees held a sit-in due to what they described as despotism practiced against them through a number of decisions taken by the corporation depriving them of rights guaranteed by law number 6/2008 and its amendments.

The protesters decried the KAC management’s alleged violation of the law, accusing the latter of playing with the fate of employees and depriving them of their legal rights. The management issued a brief statement during the sit-in, asserting the entire KAC administration is keen on protecting the rights of employees.

However, the statement proved futile as half of the employees protested against the corporation’s actions under the pretext of reducing expenditures at the expense of their legal rights. KAC Board of Directors Counselor Eng Abdullah Al-Sharhan explained the dispute is related to contracts which can be dealt with the Arbitration Unit at the Fatwa and Legislation Department.

On the other hand, Kuwait Aircraft Engineers and Pilots Association (KAEPA) confirmed its support for the sit-in held Monday with the attendance of MP Hamoud Al-Khudair.

The number of protesters reached 350 Kuwaiti employees including pilots, engineers and other staff constituting 50 percent of the Kuwaiti workforce and about 10 percent of the total number of workers. Some of the decisions taken by the management include changing official working hours for employees assigned in the morning shift, revoking duty benefits, forcing employees to sign unclear and ambiguous contracts, new salary scales, organizational structure, and approved job grades.

The protesters also voiced objection against the alleged random appointments – without adhering to normal contractual procedures such as announcement of vacancies and appointment for ‘non-existent’ designations with high salaries.

They highlighted the cancellation of privileges guaranteed by law such as ticket transfer between direct members of a family, use of next year’s ticket provided it is within the outstanding balance, first class booking for 3-B777 planes, and free tickets for employees’ children above 24 years old. They added the corporation changed the promotion mechanism as it increased the number of years required to qualify for promotion and amended the employment grade as well as delaying the reinstatement of 37 pilots who served the airline diligently to reach its current status

By Bilal Bader Al-Seyassah Staff

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