Ministry of Awqaf facing crisis over increased working hours.

A crisis related to working hours is facing the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs after it issued a circular to amend the official working hours in the morning and evening shifts, reports Al- Rai daily. The labor union of the ministry objected to the circular, demanding that the situation be amended and things be restored to their previous state. A number of employees are working on organizing a sit-in during the coming days.

According to an informed source, the crisis began with the issuance of the circular by the assistant undersecretary for Planning and Development Sector regarding canceling the reduced working hours for women in the morning shift and reducing the grace period, and increasing the working hours in the evening shift to seven hours from 2:00 pm to 9:00 pm.

The source said, “The circular stressed on adherence to the official working hours legally established from Sunday to Thursday each week from 7:00 am to 2:00 pm. This circular ends what was previously in force, which was the end of working hours for female employees of the ministry at exactly 1:00 pm. The working hours have instead increased by a full hour.” Working hours for the male employees have not changed, with the exception of the morning grace period, which was reduced from an hour to half an hour.

The grace period now ends at 7:30 am instead of 8:00 am. The major dilemma lies in working hours in Islamic studies centers and the Quran memorization centers during the evening period, where work starts at 2:00 pm and ends at 9:00 pm. Previously, it started from 4:00 pm and ended at 7:30 pm, but this has been changed by the new circular issued on Tuesday.

In this regard, the Board of Directors of the Labor Union in the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs expressed its great shock at the recent decision of the ministry, which was circulated to its sectors, to increase the official working hours beyond what has not been in force for many years. In a press statement, the union said it believes “this decision clearly contradicts what our government is now heading towards in terms of developing alternatives and solutions that eliminate traffic congestion on the streets of Kuwait, especially during the peak hours, through the flexible fingerprint system, which will undoubtedly be a successful solution to mitigate the severity of the traffic crisis.”

It went on to say, “We are afraid of the negative effects that this decision may have on the work system in the ministry, and on the performance of workers, which may worsen in the long term, as it does not in any way consider the social conditions of a large segment of the ministry’s employees represented by women which could lead to occurrence of a lot of family turmoil. We wonder about the reason behind this change, especially since the system that has been in place for many years has not hindered work, except with the aim of stressing the ministry’s employees. On the other hand, some state ministries are seeking to relieve the burden of their employees by reducing their working hours.”

Source- Arab Times.

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