To prevent mismanagement of funds in a country, institution or company, the management should set pro’s and con’s that will give a limit as to what percentage of money should be used, spent or a person be paid. The rules formed protect the companies, the government, employees and citizens. The rules also play a big part in eliminating discrimination, abuse of human rights and violence activities that may be indicted on them.
Kuwait is faced with inflation problems as it is among the top oil exporters’ countries in the world and the third richest Arab country in the Asia continent. Oil is a very valuable mineral to a country as it has many uses and is used in almost all sectors of countries activities, thus creates a lot of wealth to a country. The oil mining activities in Kuwait lead to a surplus of money in the economy leading to rise in the prices of goods and services. The Kuwait government had set rules not to renew the Visa of non-residents who had stayed in the country for a period of three years to reduce the number of menial workers in the state as a way of trying to curb the inflation and protect the residents from rise in prices of goods and services (Tuner et al. v. 19, no. 16).
. Kuwait recruitment organizations employ non-residents to work in the oil mining sector where they do all the menial work; cleaning services or work as security officers. Most of the non-resident workers are from Bangladesh constituting approximately 100,000 of the Kuwait population. Up to July 2008, the non-residents working in Kuwait faced very harsh working conditions as they were poorly paid, mistreated and sexually abused. Some of the employers even took a further step to deduct housing, education, transport and health care allowance and insurance cover from the wages of the non-residents paying them about KD8 per month instead of the regular amount which ranged between KD20 and KD25. While the Kuwait residents secured white collar jobs and enjoyed housing, education, transport and health care allowances and insurance cover.
The lowest paid Kuwait resident whose profession was either skilled or unskilled earned KD200-KD300 and those working in the top management positions earned about KD2500 to KD3000. The big difference in the payment system of the Kuwait residents and non-residents had cropped up because the Kuwait government did not recognize the payment system of minimum wages and only had contracts that protected the rights of salaried employees. Non-residents worked in harsh conditions that were not protected by the Kuwait government as the foreign workers were sponsored by the employers hiring them and therefore were under their mercy. Most non-residents were deployed to work in Kuwait through recruitment agencies and visa traders who competed with each other to bring cheap workforce into the country and were highly rewarded for those services by the employers after delivery (Salehi-Isfahani 207-396).
Due to this discrepancy in the payment system the Asian workers staged a three day demonstration demanding an increase in the minimum wage that they were paid. They also demanded a review and improvement of the working conditions for the menial workers, as there was discrimination and abuse to their rights. This demonstration called for the attention of the Kuwait government after it turned violent and lead to the destruction of vehicles and vandalism of properties. The government promised to tackle the issue and urged the Asian workers to call off the strike. Under the influence of the strike and demands from Bangladesh government representatives, for example the Bangladesh Minister of Social Affairs and Labor Abdul Matin Chowdhury, the Kuwait government agreed to review the amount of money to be paid as minimum wage, the rights of non-residents and the working conditions of menial workers (Ulf Laessing, Kuwait Sets Minimum Wage: Prepares New Labor Law, par. 2-3).
The Kuwait formed new legislations on the labor law that existed in the Kuwait constitution for a period of 45 years. They incorporated contracts to protect the minimum wage mainly paid to the non-residents that worked in Kuwait and increased the amount from KD20 to KD50 for those working as cleaners and KD70 for the security staff. According to the new regulation the non-residents of Kuwait had a right to free education, housing, transport, health care amenities and insurance cover. Stern warning was given to employers who would violate this law and not provide the above needs to the non-residents. Those caught would suffer grave consequences stipulated by the Minister of Social Affairs and Labor Bader Al-Duwaila and later face court prosecuted leading to their operating contracts being revoked. The menial workers were also entitled to payment on time, annual leaves and holidays (Rabi’al-Awwal, Kuwait Sets Minimum Wage for some Firms, par. 2).
The human rights committee represented by MP Dr Nasser Al-Sane drafted a bill that called for actions to improve the working conditions and protection of the non-residents and those working in low paying sectors. The bill called for a stop to human trafficking which had became a normal vice though not legal in Kuwait and abolished all the organization and recruitment firms whose function was to buy and sell visa to employers who were seeking cheap labor. This advocated for a fair and even payment scheme to those who received the minimum wage. The bill also urged the employers to pay the menial workers their dues on time to stop inconveniencing them. The rule for not renewing the visas of the non-residents who had worked in Kuwait for a period of three years was abolished and they were allowed to participate or work in places that the residents of Kuwait worked so long as they were qualified and competent. This called for fair judgment of the menial jobs by the Kuwait residents, who looked down on those jobs and refused to be associated with them. Employers or organization caught practicing human trafficking were to be subjected to a court sentence of a jail term for a period of five to ten years depending on the extent of harm caused. For instance those caught indicting harm, pain and forceful laws to non-residents were to be subjected to a jail term of seven to fifteen years and their working contracted striped away from them. This was important to the Kuwait country as it had created a bad reputation in the eyes of the world, who wanted immediate action to be done to correct the woes of the non-residents and eradicate the predicament they were facing. Human activists even visited the country to speed up the process and present a fair community to all those inhibiting Kuwait whether local or foreign residents. The dignity, rights and fair treatment that called an end to the discrimination of the non-residents was also spoken for in the bill. The residents and employers of Kuwait were warned against discriminating, mistreating and sexually abusing the non-residents. Employers were also warned against collection of illegal profits at the expense of the non-residents and preservation of the dignity of the non-residents was highly recommended (Salehi-Isfahani 207-396).
The government formed a special committee to address the predicament that had been aired by the Asians during their strike. The committee was to either deport back the affected non-residents if they suspected they had a better opportunity of getting employment in their country than in Kuwait or to keep them in Kuwait and find better job opportunities for them. All the issues of citizenship and issuance of passports were to be handled by the Ministry of Interior only. Any other person caught under taking these tasks would be subjected to jail sentencing. By implementing the above laws the government of Kuwait prevented military disagreement which could have lead to instability of the Kuwait government (Tuner et al. v. 19, no. 16).
By endorsement of regulation protecting the minimum wage in Kuwait, the government carried out interventions that helped to increase the economic growth of the country. Thus improving the living conditions of all residents in Kuwait both locals and foreigners, raised the economic status of the country. Investors who had lost hope and faith in the Kuwait country and had gone to the extent of withdrawing the capital they had invested in the country, started reinvesting again contributing to the growth of the economy of Kuwait. This also helped to increase their exportation rate of oil, as those who traded with them resumed their trade fair and more countries that had the will and power to import oil from Kuwait indulged in to the trade too.
Word Count: 1435
Rabi’al-Awwal. Kuwait Sets Minimum Wage for some Firms. 9 Aug. 2008. The Gulf. 19 March 2009 <http://www.gulfnews.com/news/gulf/kuwait/10234362.html>.
Salehi-Isfahani. Labor and human capital in the Middle East: Studies of Markets and Household Behavior. Cairo: Ithaca Press in association with the Economic Research Forum, 2001.
Tuner Jennifer, Helton Arthur, McMurrer, R. Jennifer and Varia Nisha. Exported and Exposed: Abuses Against Sri Lankan Domestic Workers in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Lebanon, and the United Arab Emirates. University of Michigan: Human Rights Watch, 2008.
Ulf Laessing. Kuwait Sets Minimum Wage, Prepares New Labor Law. 4 Aug. 2008. Arabian Business. 19 March 2009 <http://www.arabianbusiness.com/526698-kuwait-sets-new-minimum-wage>.