2015 ITUC Global Rights Index Rating: 4

Migrant workers deported if they dare complain:

Migrant workers in Kuwait still do not have the right to form trade unions, and are vulnerable to appalling exploitation. In November 2014 Mr. Abdulrahman al-Ghanim, former head of the Kuwait Trade Union Federation's expat office explained in an interview that he had resigned in condemnation of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs' consistent failure to deal fairly with labour disputes.

Government bodies do not allow workers to sue employers for their rights, he explained they simply deport everyone who was reported "absconding", without granting them the right to appeal or to tell their side of the story. Very few cases make it to court and the workers concerned are not allowed to stay in the country while their cases are being tried.

Restrictions on the right to freely organise activities and formulate programmes:

Trade unions may not engage in political activity or activities involving religious or sectarian matters. Furthermore, trade unions are prohibited from investing in financial or real state speculations and from accepting gifts and donations without approval by the Ministry.

Categories of workers prohibited or limited from forming or joining a union, or from holding a union office:

Government employees are seemingly denied the right to organise as they are excluded from the scope of the 2010 Labour Code, and as the special law governing their status does not contain any provision in this regard.

The 2010 Labour Code provides that only Kuwaiti workers enjoy the right to join a trade union and to participate in its activities. Domestic workers are excluded from the 2010 Labour Code.

The ITUC Global Rights Index Ratings:

1 // Irregular violation of rights
Collective labour rights are generally guaranteed. Workers can freely associate and defend their rights collectively with the government and/or companies and can improve their working conditions through collective bargaining. Violations against workers are not absent but do not occur on a regular basis.

2 // Repeated violation of rights
Countries with a rating of 2 have slightly weaker collective labour rights than those with the rating 1. Certain rights have come under repeated attacks by governments and/or companies and have undermined the struggle for better working conditions.

3 // Regular violation of rights
Governments and/or companies are regularly interfering in collective labour rights or are failing to fully guarantee important aspects of these rights. There are deficiencies in laws and/or certain practices which make frequent violations possible.

4 // Systematic violation of rights
Workers in countries with the rating 4 have reported systematic violations. The government and/or companies are engaged in serious efforts to crush the collective voice of workers putting fundamental rights under threat.

5 // No guarantee of rights
Countries with the rating of 5 are the worst countries in the world to work in. While the legislation may spell out certain rights workers have effectively no access to these rights and are therefore exposed to autocratic regimes and unfair labour practices.

5+ // No guarantee of rights due to the breakdown of the rule of law
Workers in countries with the rating 5+ have equally limited rights as countries with the rating 5. However, in countries with the rating 5+ this is linked to dysfunctional institutions as a result of internal conflict and/or military occupation. In such cases, the country is assigned the rating of 5+ by default.

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