Bangladeshis back to work in Kuwait
Friday, 22 August 2008

Firms asked to pay

Staff Correspondent

Bangladeshi workers in Kuwait demonstrating over poor and irregular pay have returned to work after authorities asked the errant companies to clear the arrears, the foreign secretary said on Thursday.

"The workers have called off their strikes and all of them have returned to work," Md Touhid Hossain told bdnews24.com Thursday.
 
The Gulf sheikhdom has also ordered firms to pay for the extension of work permits or tickets of the Bangladeshi workers who would have to return home without a permit.
 
The government steps followed a Kuwaiti labour court ruling in favour of Bangladeshi workers who had gone to strike protesting poor pay and rights violations.
 
Meanwhile, Kuwaiti labour department chief Hadi Mohammad Al-Enezy met with Bangladeshi workers and representatives of Gulf Services Company, their employer, the foreign ministry said in a press statement Thursday.
 
"The Gulf Services Company will pay all outstanding wages of the workers, whose work permits cannot be extended, by September and send them back to Bangladesh at its own expenses," the statement said.
 
By September, the company would also pay for the residency extension of the workers.
 
"As per Kuwait government's declaration, no company can pay less than Kuwaiti dinnar 40 (Tk 10 350). The wages must be paid through the bank accounts by the first week of the next month," the statement quoted Al-Enezy as instructing the company.
 
The statement said the Kuwait government would take legal actions against the supervisors and managers if found to have tortured the workers.
 
"We are trying to prepare a list of deported Bangladeshi workers who paid their supervisors and managers for work permit extension," Abdul Matin Chowdhury, the expatriates' welfare and overseas employment secretary, told bdnews24.com.
 
He said the list would be sent to the Kuwaiti authorities through Bangladesh mission and the managers and supervisors made to refund the money.
 
Bangladeshi workers went into a marathon strike in the last week of July, demanding pay hikes and better working conditions. The companies even did not pay the paltry wages of Kuwaiti dinnar 8 (US $30) per month.
 
Kuwait has sent back about 1200 Bangladeshis on charge of violating anti-demonstration laws.
 
The Bangladeshi workers again went into strike this week protesting non-payment of their wages and illegal deduction of money from their earnings.
 
A Kuwait court Tuesday heard a petition on the strike by Bangladeshi workers and ruled against the errant companies.

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