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Thursday , September 23 2021

Many govt agencies have deals with firms ‘violating’ labor law

KUWAIT CITY, May 1: Despite the Public Authority for Manpower (PAM)’s emphasis on the need to grant labor rights and deposit the salaries of workers on time without delay, informed sources in the authority revealed that many government agencies have contracts with companies that violate the labor law, reports Al-Qabas daily. They explained that the files related to this issue reveal problems accumulating since 2019 in the contracts of companies with 54 government agencies. Despite repeated promises by some ministries to deal with the deficiencies and follow up the violating contracts, no measures have been taken against these companies.

The Labor Protection Sector, since the end of 2019, addressed a group of government agencies about the status of their contracts and the problems they contain. The state authorities were urged to follow the required procedures in this regard and inform the sector about the outcome, but many of those authorities did not do so. There are government contracts currently with companies whose files were previously suspended by PAM, including the contracts related to school guards. The sources highlighted the video clip posted on social media by an Egyptian school guard Muhammad Jaafar, which went viral and got huge reactions. They revealed that 318 other guards did not receive their salaries, and it was discovered that they are on a contract suspended by PAM due to the company’s violations related to labor since 2019.

Measures
The sources explained that PAM took several legal measures against companies that violate the labor law and employment rights during the COVID-19 pandemic. It was able to refer more than 115 companies to the Public Prosecution, and it coordinated with the Ministry of Interior to refer the files of 50 other companies. They said, “The failure of the government agencies to cooperate with PAM in taking the necessary measures against the violating companies negatively affects the reputation of the country.

The files of the violating government contracts will be submitted to the Public Tenders Committee to prevent future contracts with the companies that violated the rights of workers”. Regarding the delay in payment of salaries for workers under government contracts, the sources affirmed that government agencies bear responsibility for part of the problem in some cases, given that they reserve payments for companies without taking into account the provision of monthly salaries for workers, as it is possible, through the government agency that owns the contract, to pay salaries to the workers and deduct them from the company dues.

The sources added, “After the recent introduction of a certificate from the labor protection sector, the new government contracts are only awarded to companies that honor the rights of their labor force and pay their salaries on time”. They criticized some government agencies for extending their contracts with those companies that have been marked by PAM for violating labor rights, which encourage these companies to continue with their violations without deterrence. The sources stressed that the workers’ salaries are basically low and not sufficient for meeting life’s requirements yet they delay in paying them.

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