The Kuwaiti government has warned of stiff action after oil workers threatened an all-out strike in protest at parliament's decision to raise the retirement age for workers in high-risk jobs, newspapers reported Sunday, April 29.
"This should be clear to everyone. We will quell any unlawful actions," Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah was quoted as saying in reaction to the threat. Parliament last Wednesday passed a bill to amend Kuwait's social security legislation stipulating that employees in high-risk jobs in the oil sector and women would be allowed to retire only after serving for at least 20 years.
The current period for the two categories is 15 years, after which workers can enjoy full benefits of the generous social security system in Kuwait. The bill was approved after the government warned that the emirate's Public Institution for Social Security would go bankrupt in two decades if the retirement age was not raised.
Following the parliament's approval, the head of the oil workers' union, Hamad Suwayan, warned that workers could stage a total strike to press for the decision to be reversed. Suwayan noted that strikes are legal in Kuwait, unlike in the other Arab monarchies of the oil-rich Gulf. —(AFP)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)