Migrant Workers

KUWAIT CITY, September 04, 2008 (AFP) – Kuwait’s parliament is to hold an emergency session on September 10 to debate violent protests by foreign workers over pay and living conditions, speaker Jassem al-Khorafi said. Khorafi said he received a request signed by 35 MPs in the 50-member parliament to recall the house from its summer recess and would ask the government to attend the session.

The lawmakers said that unrest by foreign workers has “undermined Kuwait’s reputation abroad,” and warned it could recur.

Thousands of Bangladeshi workers staged violent demonstrations in July to demand better pay and living conditions. Police rounded up and later deported around 1,000 of them.

Meanwhile, visiting Bangladesh Foreign Minister Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury held talks on Wednesday with his Kuwaiti counterpart Sheikh Mohammad al-Sabah, the official KUNA news agency reported, without giving details.

Oil-rich Kuwait is home to 2.35 million foreigners, more than two-thirds of them Asians from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the Philippines.

Following the unrest, the Kuwaiti government decided to introduce a mininum monthly wage of 40 dinars (150 dollars) for cleaners and 70 dinars (26