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Kuwait oil workers reject appeals to end strike

Kuwaiti oil workers Tuesday rejected fresh appeals to call off their three-day old strike as the state oil firm said it had managed to restore some affected production.



Kuwait City: Kuwaiti oil workers Tuesday rejected fresh appeals to call off their three-day old strike as the state oil firm said it had managed to restore some affected production.

"The strike is continuing until all our demands are met," spokesman for the Kuwait Workers Union Farhan al-Ajmi told a news conference.

"We will return to work only after (national oil firm) Kuwait Petroleum Corp. scraps all decisions that took away some rights of the workers," Ajmi told thousands of striking workers.

The demands include abolishing decisions by authorities to cut some incentives in the face of falling oil prices and excluding the oil sector form a new payroll scheme for public servants.
Ajmi said several initiatives to reach a settlement did not succeed.

His comments came after KPC spokesman Sheikh Talal Khaled Al-Sabah said Kuwait output was now running at 1.5 million barrels per day -- 50 percent of normal output -- against 1.1 million bpd when the strike first erupted on Sunday.

Sheikh Khaled said a crude gathering centre in the north of the emirate had been put back into production and that the company had plans to reopen three more.

He did not specify how they were being staffed but on Sunday the cabinet gave orders for KPC to recruit contractors from abroad to operate some of its facilities in defiance of the indefinite strike called by the Kuwait oil workers union over planned wage cuts.

The stoppage in the OPEC oil cartel`s fourth largest producer has helped world prices to recover after a sharp fall on Monday following the failure of major producers to reach agreement on a proposed output freeze.

Besides the fall in Kuwait`s crude production, refining also dropped from 930,000 bpd to 520,000 bpd and natural gas output dropped to 620 million cubic feet (17.6 million cubic metres) from 1.3 billion cubic feet (36.8 million cubic metres).

Sheikh Khaled said the strike had not affected exports or domestic supplies as the emirate was using its strategic storage.

Late on Monday, acting oil minister Anas al-Saleh urged striking workers to return to work and pledged that their wages will not be cut.

KPC said on Sunday that reserves of petrol and derivatives were sufficient to meet domestic demand for 25 days and that strategic reserves could cover a further 31 days.

From Zee News

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