Kuwait mulls 'emergency' plans ahead of oil workers strike

AFP , Thursday 14 Apr 2016

Oil workers
File photo of oil workers in Kuwait. (Photo: Reuters)

State-owned Kuwait Petroleum Corp on Thursday reviewed "maximum" contingency plans in the face of a total strike threatened by oil workers over alleged pay cuts.

KPC said in a statement its board of directors discussed "alternative plans and precautionary measures" at all its affiliate companies after the oil workers union declared an open-ended strike starting Sunday.

The board was briefed by heads of Kuwait Oil Co, responsible for production and exploration, and national refiner Kuwait National Petroleum Co on their "maximum emergency" plans, it said, without giving details.

Local media reported on Wednesday that Kuwait was to deploy national guard units to run and protect some oil facilities during the strike.

Hit by the sharp drop in crude prices, Kuwait is introducing a new payroll scheme for all public employees and wants to include the country's 20,000 oil workers, which would mean an automatic cut in wages and incentives.

KPC said the workers union had boycotted negotiations called for Thursday by the social affairs and labour ministry.

It said KPC had offered to "suspend" all spending cuts if the union agreed to join a committee to negotiate a settlement.

The union is also protesting plans to privatise parts of the oil sector.

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