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Kuwait sets minimum wage for firms

Kuwait City, August 5, 2008

Kuwait has set a minimum monthly wage of 40 dinars ($150.4) for some companies with state contracts.

The move comes after Asian workers demanding better pay rioted last week.

The new order requires firms with cleaning and security contracts with state institutions to pay a net monthly minimum salary of 40 dinars for cleaners and 70 dinars for civilian security staff, the cabinet said in a statement after a weekly meeting.

Last week, hundreds of mainly Bangladeshi cleaners and workers staged demonstrations to demand better pay and working conditions, saying soaring prices made it impossible for them to live on their salaries after employers or agents deducted housing, medical and meal costs.

The protests turned violent, with demonstrators overturning cars and ransacking offices until the government promised to improve conditions. Hundreds of protesters were arrested and deported.

"Cost of housing or living allowances, health insurance, transportation or any other commitments are not to be deducted from these salaries," the cabinet said.

State news agency Kuna cited Cabinet Minister Faisal Al-Hajji as saying companies that violate the new minimum wage rules would be prosecuted.

Protesting workers had said they got paid as little as 8 dinars a month after employers deducted costs of health care, transport, meals or housing. Others demanded a salary of 50 dinars a month.

Cleaners and private guards are among the biggest job categories for Asian workers. - Reuters




Tags: Kuwait | wage | asian workers |

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