Kuwait's ministry takes 'preventative measures' as oil workers strike

Published April 17th, 2016 - 08:39 GMT
Kuwait is introducing a new payroll scheme for all public employees and wants to include the country’s 20,000 oil workers. (File photo)
Kuwait is introducing a new payroll scheme for all public employees and wants to include the country’s 20,000 oil workers. (File photo)

Kuwait's Ministry of Electricity and Water (MEW) has stopped gas units to power stations as oil workers push ahead with plans to strike today, KUNA reports. The MEW has re-operated special electricity generation stations for gas supply lines as part of preventative operations in anticipation of the strike.

Thousands of oil workers at Kuwait's state-owned oil, gas and petrochemical companies, including Kuwait Oil Company, Kuwait Oil Tanker Company, Equate Petrochemical Industries Company and Kuwait Gulf Oil Company, are striking over government plans to overhaul the payroll system. Changes are likely to lead to a reduction in salaries and other benefits.

Sheikh Talal Al-Khaled Al-Sabah, a spokesman for Kuwait's oil sector had earlier announced that the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) and its subsidiaries agreed to temporarily freeze a planned government overhaul, but union head Saif Al-Qahtani dismissed the statement as ''playing with words'.

"The KPC statement is talking about 'freezing' the decisions, while our demand is to cancel them," Qahtani, head of the Oil and Petrochemical Industries Workers Confederation, told Reuters. "The strike is still on and on time."

KPC called on the unions to work with it to find a way out of the dispute, and warned that under Kuwaiti laws it was illegal to obstruct work in public facilities in areas such as oil, gas and petrochemicals.


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