Civil aviation workers stage sit-in to demand ‘financial rights’
KUWAIT: In a step that precedes the convening of the first session of the National Assembly’s new term on October 29th, the government rejected a parliamentary request to discuss restoring the previous prices of gas and energy to their original rates before they were hiked back in 2016. “The government maintains belief that the gas price increase came after a comprehensive market study, and has not led to financial problems for the public or increase in commodity prices as was rumored before the new prices were made official,” official government sources said.
The sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, further explained that the government reserves the right to increase or reduce gas prices, noting that the National Assembly “does not have the authority” in this case to force the government to reduce prices. “That would be considered a flagrant violation of the constitutional that forbids Parliament from interfering in the executive authority’s jurisdiction,” they explained. And while indicating that the government has no current plans to further increase prices – at least not after “careful studies are made,” the sources ruled out the possibility that the government might yield to parliamentary pressure and reduce prices any time soon.
As for the electricity and water tariffs’ increase, the sources explained that it came after the National Assembly passed a law two years ago based on a draft law submitted by the government, which recommended the increase to stop “squandering of heavily-subsidized energy resources.”
Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) employees staged a sit-in yesterday to demand what they described as their ‘financial rights.’ The protest came in response to a call by the DGCA workers union to put pressure on the administration to answer workers’ financial demands related to allowances. Employees ended their protest two hours later, claiming that their sit-in was a ‘civilized labor action.’ They further warned that they will continue their action in case their demands are not met, and might escalate their protest into a total strike.
Sources said meanwhile that the protesting employees had received ‘positive signals’ from officials before breaking up their sit-in. DGCA had confirmed in a statement later yesterday its keenness on protecting employees’ rights, earnings, supervision, and working hours in accordance with the Civil Service Commission. In a press release and in response to employee protest at the administration building, the DGCA said its decisions aims to organize work by developing and improving services for passengers at Kuwait International Airport.
The DGCA administration has opened its doors to the president and members of the union of workers at the airport to listen to their demands and proposals, Director General of DGCA Yusif Al-Fawzan added in the press release. Fawzan explained that law No. (36) for 2019 is scheduled to be implemented in beginning of October, which aims to establish control over working hours and observations from the State Audit Bureau. In addition, no allowances will be affected before October 1, he said, adding that all staff must cooperate and work together to raise the reputation of Kuwait International Airport.
Police offender remanded
The public prosecution remanded in custody a ruling family member accused of insulting a traffic police officer through an audio clip that circulated on social media, although the Sheikh denied the charges. Deputy Premier and Interior Minister Sheikh Khaled Al-Jarrah Al-Sabah had earlier received Lt Col Saleh Al-Rashed from the traffic department, who was allegedly insulted for not accepting an illegal transaction. The minister reportedly praised the officer, saying that he “gave good example of complying with the law and self-control.”
By A Saleh