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Kuwait oil workers union boss, Abdul Aziz Al Sharthan (Image courtesy of Middle East Online)

Oil workers in Kuwait are planning a strike against a government decision to cut their wages, the head of the oil workers union said Wednesday.

“Trade unions of all oil companies have taken a decision to go on strike and authorized me to announce the date of the strike, which will be determined within the next two days,” Abdul Aziz Al Sharthan told APF.

Sharthan said he’ll set a strike date  within two weeks.

State-owned Kuwait Petroleum Corp (KPC) cut some benefits and wage elements, leading to the labor action, Sharthan said.

Sharthan said the two-week interim is intended to the government time to reverse the wage cuts and negotiate with the oil trade unions.

Any strike would include all production operations, exports, petrochemicals and other sectors, he told APF.

The country’s oil industry employs around 19,000 Kuwaitis.

Kuwait currently pumps 3.0 million barrels per day. It exports products equivalent to about 1 million bpd.

Oil industry wages in Kuwait already trail those in neighbouring Saudi Arabia, UAE and Qatar, Sharthan said.

But the head of the Kuwait parliament’s budgets committee, Adnan Abdul Samad, said last week the wages of oil workers in Kuwait were inflated.

Based on budget figures for the last fiscal year, he said, the average monthly salary for Kuwaitis employed in the government excluding the oil sector was $4,500, while in the oil sector it was more than $19,400.