Kuwait deports 1,000 Bangladeshi workers
Kuwait City, August 4, 2008
Kuwait has deported about 1,000 Bangladeshi workers following violent protests over pay last week. It also plans to limit work permits for some nationalities, a government minister said.
Hundreds of mainly Bangladeshi cleaners and workers staged demonstrations to demand better pay and working conditions amid record inflation of about 11 per cent.
The protests turned violent and some workers overturned cars and ransacked offices until the government reached an agreement to end the strike.
Social Affairs and Labour Minister Bader Al-Duwaila said on Sunday several hundreds had been deported.
"The number did not reach 1,000," he told reporters after briefing parliament's human rights committee.
"There are decisions to limit some nationalities," he added. "When a certain nationality surpasses others there must be a fair distribution among working nationalities in the country."
Expatriates make up two-thirds of Kuwait's population of 3.2 million. Al-Duwaila said the cabinet would discuss a proposal to introduce a monthly minimum wage of 40 dinars ($151) for cleaners and 70 dinars for civilian security staff to improve workers' pay.
Some of the protesting workers had said they were asking for 50 dinars without deductions for visa fees.
The protests came against a backdrop of high prices, with workers complaining they could not survive on their salaries once labour agents took a cut or unscrupulous employers deducted housing, medical and meal costs. - Reuters