Business trumps politics in wrangles over labour reform in GCC

Issue 1013 - 22 Apr 2016 | 3 minute read

A rare strike by Kuwaiti oil workers began on 17 April, with members of the Union of Petroleum and Petrochemical Workers protesting against changes that could lead to cuts in salaries and other benefits (see Politics). It was notable that only Kuwaiti workers went on strike: foreigners showed up for work as usual – which makes sense given the vulnerable position of overseas labourers in Kuwait, as in other GCC economies. The strike highlights the difficulty Gulf governments face in making changes to their bloated public sectors, at a time when they are struggling to deal with growing budget deficits.

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