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Kuwait new Labor law bans termination on faith, gender, ethnicity

November 12th, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

The parliamentary Labor and Health Affairs Committee approved Wednesday a number of proposed amendments to the private sector labor law. Speaking to reporters after the meeting, panel member MP Dr Salwa Al-Jassar disclosed the amendments.

These include granting working mothers a two-hour break to nurse their children and defining jobs deemed dangerous for women by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor.” Al-Jassar mentioned other amendments, such as obliging employers to establish a nursery for children aged four years and below if there are 200 or more female workers in the institution. She said the committee also approved proposals not to allow the suspension of any employee because of their ethnicity, religion or gender and workers should not work more than eight hours a day. The committee will meet again on Thursday to further discuss the issue.

In another development, the Negative Phenomena Committee discussed ways to eliminate negative activities in cafés like smoking ‘shisha’ (water pipe). Committee Chairman Mohammad Hayef Al-Mutairi said smoking ‘shisha’ is prevalent in most Kuwaiti cafés, indicating this is common in the Middle East despite the fact that it is more dangerous than cigarettes. He warned smoking ‘shisha’ once is tantamount to smoking 20 cigarettes, so it poses a graver threat to people’s health. “According to global reports, smoking cigarettes kill around five million people a year compared to about 250,000 people who die in car accidents. Since ‘shisha’ is 20 times more harmful than cigarettes, this habit claims more lives per year,” Al-Mutairi added. Urging the Cabinet to stop cafés from offering ‘shisha’ to costumers especially since it also contributes to spreading diseases, Al-Mutairi argued the Cabinet is worried about Kuwaitis performing hajj this year due to fear of further spreading swine flu among the populace, but it has failed to take the necessary measures to stop the use of ‘shisha’ as it can easily transmit the disease from one person to another.

Meanwhile, Kuwaiti lawmakers reiterated threats to interrogate several ministers in the beleaguered Cabinet as the country celebrated the 47th anniversary of the issuance of its Constitution Tuesday. Popular Labor Bloc, whose members have also threatened to quiz Minister of Interior Sheikh Jaber Al-Khalid for allegedly misleading the public, held a symposium to mark the occasion. During the symposium, veteran lawmaker Ahmad Al-Saadoun said the Kuwaiti Constitution has been the target of several attempts to “empty its contents” and deem it useless, but these attempts have failed due to the nation’s strong belief in parliamentary practices. Outspoken opposition lawmaker Musallam Al-Barrak, on the other hand, accused the pro-government lawmakers of “instigating trouble. They claim we are the trouble-makers but they are actually the ones who contribute to major mishaps as they have abandoned their constitutional duties and blindly defended the Cabinet regardless of its mistakes and corrupt activities.”

Al-Barrak contended he has right to “honestly defend the public funds and welfare of the Kuwaiti nation”. He urged the Kuwaitis to support those who work in the interest of the nation and its people even if they are a minority in the Parliament. “We are proud to be trouble-makers if that means standing against corruption and defending people’s welfare,” Al-Barrak said, adding the government is incapable of achieving the development it has been claiming.

Meanwhile, another bloc member, MP Khaled Al-Tahous, reaffirmed his plan to interrogate HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohamed if the Cabinet does nothing to curb the rising pollution levels in Umm Al-Haiman. “We had previously given the government a grace period of 60 days which ends on Dec 21. If nothing is done until this day, we will grill Sheikh Nasser”, he stressed. In another development, the Development and Reform Bloc has agreed to support the plan of one of its members, MP Dr Faisal Al-Muslim, to present a grilling request against HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Mohammad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah on Thursday or Sunday. In a press statement Wednesday, the bloc said several MPs have expressed their willingness to support its plan to prevent any attempt to refer the request to the Constitutional Court. Al-Muslim intends to include the alleged payment of bribes to some MPs, expenditures at the Prime Minister’s Diwan, and government’s suspension of the development process in his grilling request, the statement added.

By Dahlia Kholaif
Arab Times Staff

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