Indian workers in Kuwait without wages for seven months

April 11th, 2008 - 11:51 am ICT by admin  

By Aroonim Bhuyan
Dubai, April 9 (IANS) Around 90 Indian workers of a construction company in Kuwait have alleged they have not been paid their wages for seven months. The Indian embassy in Kuwait is now trying for an out of court settlement between the two sides. The firm employed them about a year ago but have not paid them their salaries for seven months, the workers allege.

“They first approached the embassy in October last year with their complaint. They have also gone to court over this,” India’s Ambassador to Kuwait M. Ganapathi told IANS on phone.

“We are trying to work out an out of court settlement and are in discussions with both parties.”

According to local media reports, the landlord of the building the workers stay in has also threatened to evict them as they have not been able to pay the rents.

Besides, a few of them have reportedly gone without food for three days.

“The company has refused to pay the rent, and our biggest concern at the moment is food,” one of the workers told the Arab Times.

“We do not know what is in store for us as there is a serious shortage of food at the camp. Since most of the workers’ residencies have expired, they cannot take up part-time jobs as they are afraid that they will be arrested and deported.”

The ambassador said that the Indian mission has given some money to the workers to buy food.

“Besides, Indian associations here are also helping them out financially so that they can pay their rents,” he added.

The workers, employed as technicians, labourers and drivers, are drawing salaries of 40-60 Kuwaiti dinars ($150-$226).

They have now threatened not to resume their duties till they were paid all their outstanding dues.

“We are keeping the Ministry of External Affairs (in India) and the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs fully apprised of the situation,” Ganapathi said.

A majority of the workers hail from Kerala, followed by Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.

There are around 550,000 expatriate Indians in Kuwait and a large majority of them work as contract labour in the city-state’s booming construction industry.

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