Kuwaiti employees of Kuwait Airways Corp, the state-owned
carrier being prepared for sale, went on strike today to demand higher wages
and employment benefits, the head of the airline’s union said.
“No KAC aircraft are departing” from Kuwait International
Airport, Abdullah al-Hajeri said in a phone interview from the airport. “Only
Hajj flights will depart during strike times,” he said in reference to pilgrims
travelling to Saudi Arabia.
About 2,000 staff from Kuwait Airways and another 800 from a
subsidiary halted work at 8 am local time, al-Hajeri said. The strike will end
today at 6 pm and resume tomorrow over the same period. Employees will continue
the strike on Oct 26 and Oct 27 from 6 pm to midnight, according to al-Hajeri.
Government employees have held a wave of strikes across the
country since September, seeking salary increases to match peers in other
Kuwaiti customs employees ceased work for two days from Oct
10, disrupting the country’s ports and border crossings and threatening to
block oil exports.
Kuwait's government said in August it would offer 35 percent of the loss-making Kuwait Airways to a strategic partner. In addition, 40 percent will be sold in a future initial public offering (IPO), while 20 percent will be owned by Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA) and the remaining five percent will be granted to employees.
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