KUWAIT CITY, Aug 27: Chairman of Kuwait Trade Union Federation (KTUF) Salem Al-Ajmi says expatriate workers play a part in the thorny issues that Kuwait is currently facing, adding, “However, what drew our attention in the few last days is the media show revolving around this matter whereby a party and an official are being held responsible for this issue”, reports Al Seyassah daily.
He explained that the blame game is active despite the current accumulating problems which have existed for a while now and which is everyone’s responsibility – the government and the society. KTUF, which represents the workforce in Kuwait including Kuwaitis and expatriates, believes the real problem is not just with the appointment of a number of skilled expatriates at the expense of national cadres, but it is with the training of national cadres so that they can take charge and take up work responsibilities.
Statistics from the Public Authority for Civil Information (PACI) as of July showed that the number of expatriates working in the Ministry of Health reached 36,520 or 44 percent of the total expatriate workforce in the government sector; while 32,790 expatriates are employed in the Ministry of Education or 40 percent of the total number of expatriates working in the government sector.
Majority of expatriates in State departments do menial jobs such as messengers and printers and they hold primary school certificates. As at Aug 22 this year, statistics from PACI revealed that the number of expatriates in the government sector reached 78,739 and those in the private sector reached 1.5 million.
Two thirds of expatriates in the private sector receive less than KD 180 salary and they constitute 59.29 percent of the total number of expatriates in this sector. Developing and exploiting Kuwait’s islands is one of the most important projects that coincides with His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah’s View of Kuwaiti islands Development of islands part of Amir’s future vision vision to turn Kuwait into a financial and commercial center and activate the development plan (Kuwait 2035).
Kuwait enjoys a distinctive geoKUNA photos graphical location and has strong international relations, which will help to establish a complete economic and multi-purpose free trade zone. About 43.19 percent of expatriates in the private sector receive salaries ranging from KD 60 to KD 120, 24.2 percent receive KD 180 to KD 360, 16.51 percent receive more than KD 360 and 1.63 percent of them receive “This has been the federation’s call for ages”, he added.
Al-Ajmi affirmed that the concerned authorities are exerting efforts in this regard but ample time is required for the efforts to be fruitful and for the desired results to be achieved. He said he was glad to see the replacement (Kuwaitization) policy being adopted by the government in a manner that does not affect the flow and quality of work.
However, Al-Ajmi stressed that the stirring up of the replacement policy by MPs at this time is not in the interest of the public. He insisted that it was not fair to blame expatriate workers for the unemployment rate among Kuwaitis, indicating that no one denies the efforts and contributions of expatriates along with their Kuwaiti colleagues in ensuring the prosperity and advancement of Kuwait.
Al-Ajmi affirmed his support for depending on national cadres in different professions, explaining that this requires collaboration between the government and society, starting with the way families bring up children and direct them towards accepting work that is suitable for their educational and scientific abilities and qualifications, besides studying the labor market and its requirements and directing educational sector towards responding to the labor market needs. He said the private sector is also required to contribute, not only in employing national workforce but also in training and equipping the national labor through establishment of special institutes adjacent to factories and companies with the task of training them about the requirements of work. Al-Ajmi explained that everyone understands the important regulatory role of the parliament and the responsibilities that the members shoulder. This role should live up to the level of solving important and crucial national and fateful issues which the country is currently facing amid the crisis in the region. He called on the parliament to pay attention to the national issues and issues related to workers which affect the interests of the country and the people.