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Shortage of workers forces ‘closure’ of some fuel pumps; cause of long queues

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Number of workers down from 850 to 350

KUWAIT CITY, May 28: Abdul-Hussain Al-Sultan, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the “Oula” Fuel Marketing Company said the reason for the congestion witnessed by the company’s gas stations is due to the failure to allow it to bring in workers, which resulted in a decrease of workers by more than 50 percent, forcing the company to reduce the number of pumps operating at the stations.

Al-Sultan said in a statement to Al-Rai that the number of workers decreased from 850 to 350, which prompted the company to reduce the number of operating pumps, saying, “Since the corona crisis, the Public Authority for Manpower has not allowed us to bring workers from abroad, and requested the hire workers available in the labor market in Kuwait who are not qualified or trained to work in this profession. Al-Sultan explained that “the company is about to find solutions within a week, whether by reaching a solution with PAM regarding the recruitment of workers, or an alternative solution by generalizing self-service, as each person will have to fill in his car, and then there will be a worker where the money will be paid as an alternative solution,” stressing at the same time, “exempting the elderly, people with special needs and women from self-service.”

In a related context, sources in the “Al- Soor” Fuel Marketing Company (Alfa) revealed that the number of workers in the company decreased from 600 or 700 to about 200 because some of them have either gone on vacation or because some of them have left work for better prospects elsewhere. The sources pointed out that the lack of trained workers and the PAM procedures to recruit workers and their high costs are among the most prominent factors in the crisis witnessed by gas stations.

He stressed that the stations and their management work efficiently, and that stopping some pumps comes in proportion to the size of the current workforce and not a defect in the system, calling for cooperation of all to bypass the existing problem. The sources called on the concerned government agencies to understand the needs of gas stations, especially that the worker is trained, but the problem is in the laws that allow him to leave work after two years if a better opportunity is found. For his part, the Executive Vice President of Local Marketing at the Kuwait National Petroleum Company, Ghanem Al-Otaibi, confirmed to Al-Rai that the company’s gas stations are operating at full capacity to serve all consumers, and that it does not face any problems in its 64 stations in various regions.

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