Cairo: Kuwait’s civil aviation employees began on Tuesday a partial sit-in over unmet financial demands, their union said.
The Syndicate of Civil Aviation Employees said in a statement that a deadline for authorities to meet its demands had ended and that starting from Tuesday it would embark on a 10-day sit-in that would gradually “escalate” to reach a full strike and a traffic halt at Kuwait international airport.
“The sit-in observed by the syndicate comes in protest against underestimating rights of civil employees, including the shift allowance, which is six months overdue,” the union’s head Salem Al Sheridah, told Kuwaiti newspaper Al Anaba.
He also demanded that civil aviation staff obtain allowances given to employees at the customs and the Interior Ministry due to exposure to noise, pollution and infection.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation said in a statement that it makes efforts to bolster its employees’ rights without strike threats. The state agency added that the Civil Service Department approved on Thursday its mid-May request to increase the number of beneficiaries of special bonuses.
Minister of State for Services, Janan Bushehri, confirmed that the union’s demand for allowances related to perils of noise, pollution and infection offered to other employees violates principles of fairness and equality, given the difference in work nature among different departments.
In a gesture of backing employees’ rights, the minister asked the union to compile a list of jobs, which do not obtain other allowances in order to discuss the issue at a joint meeting of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, the Civil Service Department and the union, but the latter “has not delivered the list until today”.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation ruled out negotiations with the union under threats of going on strike and resorting to foreign labour organisations.
“There is an understanding of demands provided they comply with the administrative laws in effect in the country and are implementable,” the agency added in its statement.