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Kuwait: Migrant workers in the F&B industry bear the brunt of the pandemic, with many experiencing wage cuts

Kuwait restaurant seating

Migrant-Rights.org released an article highlighting the plight of migrant workers employed in the food & beverage sector in Kuwait. Citing a number of cases impacting restaurant workers, Migrant-Rights.org highlight that many migrant workers in the F&B industry have been arbitrarily dismissed or experienced wage cuts.

Although the Kuwaiti parliament has rejected a draft law allowing salaries reduction by businesses, many migrant workers have experienced salaries cuts. It is also very challenging for migrant workers to file complaints against their employers. In theory, the worker can submit a complaint to the Ministry of Social Affairs, and the complaint can be reviewed by the Labour Court. However, in practice, most complaints are not submitted for several reasons. Many migrant workers are unaware of their rights or are intimidated by the employer. Moreover, many do not file a case because they are afraid of being dismissed by their employer or that their employer will not pay them their pending wages. In addition, the process is very slow; if a case was filed, it usually takes months to be resolved. The pandemic has further slowed the process.

Migrant-Rights.org says that Kuwait should enforce a social protection scheme to protect workers against wages withholding and cuts. In addition, The Kuwaiti government must inform migrant workers about their rights as well as their employers' obligations, and ensure that abusive practices by employers are addressed.