Kuwait Backs Private Sector Wage Rises

Kuwait’s government has proposed wage increases of up to KD330 per month for private sector workers.

Kuwait’s civil service commission has proposed wage increases of up to KD330 ($1,190) per month for private sector employees after state workers were given pay hikes earlier this year.

Policymakers and economists in the major oil exporter have warned that growth in public sector salaries is unsustainable in the long-term.

They say it also puts pressure on private sector wages and could fuel inflation, which reached 4.1 per cent on an annual basis in March.

The government agreed to wage rises of between 25 and 30 per cent for state workers after a series of public sector strikes which hit Kuwait’s airport and shipping sector earlier this year. Private sector hikes had been expected to follow.

The rises for private sector workers will be based on qualifications in nine categories, state-run news agency KUNA reported late on Tuesday.

The most qualified workers – such as physicians, pharmacists and engineers – will get KD330 more a month. People without school education will get KD50 more, the agency quoted commission chairman Abdulaziz al-Zaben as saying.

The wage rise will cost the private sector KD90 million a year, daily al-Qabas reported.