Civil servants at the Kuwait Ministry of Justice have gone on strike. More than 10,000 court cases are likely to be suspended in the upcoming days as experts of the Ministry of Justice continue their strike for the third consecutive day. They are demanding the government to approve a new law that offers them a better pay scale. Almost 1,000 cases dealing with financial disputes are reviewed daily, and these are put on hold until about 250 experts at the ministry call off their strike. Experts review the legality and competency of cases before they go to court.
The experts involved in the sit-in are affiliated to all the six Kuwaiti governorates.
The strike will continue until March 17, when a parliament session will discuss the new law. In November, MPs adopted this case and promised to discuss it, but every time it was postponed to another session. It was listed on the agenda of the parliament session held on March 2, but they postponed it to March 17.
March 11, 2010
Analysis and Forecast: Increasing Risk
Strikes are unusual though not unheard of in Kuwait and the GCC. However, the striking if civil servants in the ministry of justice is a very serious development as they indicate a very serious deterioration. The strike could lead to a clash between the government and parliament, especially if it escalates. Whether or not the issue is discussed during the parliamentary session on 17 March, the fact that there was a strike and delayed court cases leading to a massive backlog will likely result in a parliamentary-government clash. In this case, however, failure of parliament to discuss the matter earlier was the direct reason for the strike and therefore MP’s will be careful not to blame the government entirely for the strike.
However, the fact that there is a strike increases risks of increasing civil unrest as well as a government-parliament clash.