Section One – Workers,
Employers Organizations and Syndicate Right
The right to establish unions for employers and the right to syndicate organization for workers is guaranteed in accordance with the provisions of this Law. The provisions of this chapter shall apply to workers in the private sector. They shall also apply to the workers in the public and oil sectors to the extent that they do not conflict with the provisions of other laws regulating their affairs.
Kuwaiti workers shall have the right to form syndicates to protect their interests, improve their financial and social conditions, and represent them in all affairs related to them. Employers shall also have the right to form unions for the same purposes .
The procedures that shall be implemented for the establishment of the organization are as follows:
1- The employees who wish to establish a syndicate or employers who wish to establish a union shall meet in their capacity as constituent general assembly pursuant to a notice that shall be published in at least two daily newspapers at least two weeks before the date of the general assembly meeting. The announcement shall state the location, time and objectives of the meeting.
2- The general assembly shall approve of the organization’s articles of association and may, in doing so be guided by the model by-law issued by a resolution of the Minister.
3- The constituent assembly shall elect the board of directors in accordance with the provisions of its articles of association.
The articles of association of the organization shall specify the objectives and goals for which it has been established, the conditions of membership, rights and duties of members, subscriptions to be collected from members and the responsibilities and powers of the ordinary and extraordinary general assembly. The articles of association shall also specify the number of the board of directors members, conditions and duration of membership, the board’s responsibilities and powers, regulations relevant to the budget, procedures for amending the articles of association, procedure for liquidation, records and books that shall be kept by the organization and bases of self-auditing.
The elected board of directors shall submit to the Ministry all papers relevant to the establishment og the organization within fifteen days after election thereof.
The body corporate shall be deemed to exist from the date of issue of a resolution of the Minister approving the establishment of the organization following the submittal of the required papers or documents to the Minister.
The Ministry shall have the right to guide and instruct the organization with regard to the correction of the procedures of establishment and completion of the necessary papers before its announcement. In the event where the Ministry fails to respond within 15 days after the submittal of the papersm the body corporate of the organization shall be deemed to exist by the force of law.
Workers, employers and organizations shall, upon acquiring all rights stated in the Chapter, abide by all applicable laws like all other organizations. They shall also carry on their activities within the limits of their objectives stated in the articles of association.
The Ministry shall guide the syndicates and employers unions in implementing the law, keeping records and financial books relevant to each, and remedying any shortage in data or records.
The syndicates shall not:
1- Engage in political, religious and sectarian matters.
2- Invest money in financial, real-estate speculations, or other forms of speculations.
3- Accepts gifts and donations without the approval of the Ministry.
The syndicates may open restaurants and cafeterias for the workers at the establishment after obtaining the approval of employers and concerned authorities.
Syndicates registered in accordance with the provisions of this Chapter shall have the right to form unions to protect their common interests. Unions registered in accordance with the provisions of this Law shall have the right to form one general union provisions of this Law shall have the right to form one general union provided that there shall not be more than one general union for each of the workers and the employers. The establishment of unions and the general union shall be subject to the same regulations governing the establishment of syndicates.
Unions, general unions and syndicates shall have the right to join Arab and international unions of similar interests. The Ministry shall be notified of the date of joining, and in all cases this shall not be considered a violation of the general order or the public interest of the State.
Workers and employers organizations may be voluntarily dissolved by a resolution of the general assembly in accordance with the organization’s articles of association. The fate of the association financial assets shall be determined after its liquidation in accordance with the resolution issued by the general assembly in case of the voluntary dissolution.
The organization’s board of directors may be dismissed by the lodging of a case by the Ministry before the Court of First Instance that rules for the dismissal of the board in the event where it engages in an activity that violates the provisions of this Law or the laws relevant to the preservation of public order and morals. The verdict of the court may be appealed against before the Court of Appeal within 30 days after the rendering thereof.
Employers shall submit to workers all resolutions and by-laws related to their rights and duties
The employer may delegate one or several members of the syndicate or union board of the directors to follow-up the affairs of the syndicate with the employer or the competent government authorities.
Collective Work Contract
The collective work contract organizes conditions and circumstances of work between one or more syndicates or unions on the one hand and one or more employers or the representatives thereof, on the other hand.
The collective work contract shall be made in writing and signed by the worker. It shall also be submitted to the General Assembly of both Labors and Employers organizations. The contract shall be approved by the members of these general assemblies in accordance with the articles of association of each organization.
The collective work contract shall be made for a definite period not exceeding three years. However, in the event where both parties continue the implementation of the contract after its expiry, it shall be considered renewed for one additional year with the same conditions stipulated therein, unless otherwise stipulated in the conditions of the contract.
In the event where any party of the collective work contract expresses its wish not to renew after the expiry of the contract period, it shall inform the other party and the competent Ministry in writing at least three months prior to the expiry of the contract. In the event where the contract was signed by multiple parties, the termination of the contract in respect of a party shall not be deemed to constitute termination in respect of other parties.
1- Any condition contained in the individual or collective work contracts and that violates the provisions of this Law shall be considered null even if the contract was signed prior to the entry into force of this Law, unless such conditions is more beneficial to the worker.
2- Any condition or agreement signed prior or subsequent to the entry into force of this Law whereby the worker waives any of the rights stipulated in this Law shall be invalid. Any reconciliation or settlement that involves a reduction or discharge of the worker’s rights arising from the work contract made during its term or three months thereafter shall be invalid if it conflicts with the provisions of this Law.
The collective work contract shall enter in effect upon its registration with the concerned ministry and its publication in the Official Gazette.
The concerned ministry shall have the right to object to the conditions that it deems to violate this Law. Both parties shall amend the contract within 15 days after the receipt of the objection otherwise the application for registration shall be considered null and void.
The collective work contract may be concluded at the establishment level, the industry level or the national level. In the event where the collective work contract is signed at the industry level, the Union of Industrial Syndicates shall sign on behalf of the workers. The contract signed at industry level shall constitute an amendment to the contract signed at the establishment level. The contract signed at the national level shall constitute an amendment to both other contracts within the limits of common provisions therein set forth.
The provisions of the collective work contract shall apply to the following:
a- Workers syndicates and unions that signed the contract and joined it after the signing thereof;
b- Employers or employers unions that signed the contract and joined it after the signing thereof;
c- Syndicates of the union that signed the contract and joined it after the signing thereof;
d- Employers who joined the union that signed the contract and joined it after the signing thereof.
The worker’s withdrawal or dismissal from the syndicate shall not affect their being bound by the provisions of the collective work contract, in the event where such resignation or termination occurred after the union signed or joined the contract.
Non-contracting workers syndicates, unions or the employers unions may join the collective work contract after the publishing of an outline of the said contract in Official Gazette, pursuant to the agreement of both parties to join the contract, without the need for the approval of the original contracting parties. Joining the collective work contract requires the submittal of an application to the competent ministry signed by both parties. The ministry’s approval of the application shall be published in the Official Gazette.
The collective work contract signed by the syndicate of the establishment shall apply to all workers of such establishment, regardless of their membership in the syndicate, without prejudice to the provision of Article (115) of this Law with regard to the conditions that are the most beneficial to the worker. However, the contract signed between the union, the syndicate and a specific employer shall only apply to the workers of that specific employer.
Workers and employers organizations that are party to the collective work contract shall have the right to file all cases resulting from the violation of the contract provisions for the benefit of any member, without need for a power of attorney from that member to do so.
Collective Work Disputes
Collective work disputes are the disputes that arise between one or more employers and all his or their workers or a group thereof due relevant to the work or the working conditions.
In the event of collective disputes, the involved parties shall resort to direct negotiations between he employer or his representative and workers or their representative. The competent ministry shall delegate a representative to attend the negotiation as controller.
In the event where an agreement is reached among them, the agreement shall be registered at the competent ministry within 15 days in accordance with the regulations issued in a resolution of the Minister.
Either party to the dispute may submit to the competent ministry a request to settle the dispute amicably through the Collective Work Disputes Reconciliation Committee established by a decision of the Minister, in the event where direct negotiation fails to lead to a solution.
The request shall be signed by the employer or his authorized representative, or the majority of the disputing workers or their authorized representatives.
The Work Disputes Reconciliation Committee shall consist of the following:
a- Two representatives designated by the syndicate or the disputing workers.
b- Two representatives designated by the employer or the disputing employers.
c- The chairman of the committee and representatives from the competent ministry appointed by the competent Minister by a resolution that shall also specify the number of representatives of the disputing parties.
The Committee shall consider the opinion of any person it deems useful for the accomplishment of its mission. In all the preceding stages, the competent ministry can request all information necessary to settle the dispute.
The Reconciliation Committee shall hear the dispute within one month after the submittal of the application. In the event where it is able to settle the dispute, wholly or partially, it shall register the settlement reached by both parties in minutes of proceedings made out in three copies signed by the attendants. The settlement shall be considered final and biding upon both parties. In the event where the Reconciliation Committee is unable to settle the dispute within a specific period of time, it shall refer the dispute or the unsettled part thereof, within a week after its last meeting, to the Arbitration Panel along with all documents.
The Arbitration Panel shall, in the event of collective work disputes, be formed as follows:
a- A circuit of the Court of Appeal established annually by the general assembly for this court;
b- A chief prosecutor delegated by the Attorney General.
c- A representative from the competent ministry appointed by the Minister. The disputing parties or their legal representatives shall appear before the Panel.
The Arbitration Panel shall hear the dispute within 20 days from the date of submittal of the documents to the Clerks Department. Both disputing parties shall be notified of the date of the session at least one week earlier. The dispute shall be settled within three months after the date of the first session.
The Arbitration Panel shall have all the powers of the Court of Appeal in accordance with provisions of the law regulating the judicature and the law of civil and commercial procedure. The verdicts rendered by this tribunal shall be final and shall have the same effect as the verdicts rendered by the Court of Appeal.
As an exception from Article (126) of this Law, the competent Ministry may interfere in the event of collective dispute, if necessary, without a request from any of the disputing parties in order to settle the dispute amicably. The Ministry shall also have the right to refer the case to the Reconciliation Committee or the Arbitration Panel, as it may deem appropriate. The disputing parties shall submit all documents required by the competent Ministry, and shall attend whenever required to do so.
The disputing parties shall not be allowed to suspend work, whether entirely or partially during direct negotiations or when the dispute is pending before the Reconciliation Committee or the Arbitration Panel or upon interference by the competent Ministry in accordance with the provisions of this Chapter.