Around 300 Bangladeshi workers gathered for a sit-in protest yesterday at their accommodation camp in Mangaf to garner attention to their dire plight. The workers made up of cleaners and porters claim they are refusing to go to work as their salaries have been delayed for three to four months. Kuwait considers it a crime for expatriate workers to strike and organize protests, with penalties such as fines, jail time or deportation levied on perpetrators.
The workers also accused the company manager, a Bangladeshi, of extortion, saying that he demands large fees for the renewal of their iqamas as well as fees for other flimsy reasons without the company’s knowledge. Some staff members are even forced to pay large fees when they go on annual leave. The workers have made complaints to the management, but no action has been taken.
According to sources from the Bangladeshi Embassy, two embassy officials were sent yesterday afternoon to handle the grievances of the workers. However, a friend of the workers has alleged that no one from the embassy had visited the workers or intervened on their behalf.