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Apr 20, 2016 12:34 AM

Kuwait oil unions end 3-day strike over government cutbacks

The Associated Press

KUWAIT CITY (AP) Oil unions in Kuwait ended a three-day strike over government cutbacks, authorities said Wednesday, though it remained unclear what concessions may have been granted to the workers amid low global crude prices.

The state-run Kuwait News Agency reported that the unions ended the strike by praising the country's ruling emir, Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah, and saying their action showed their "ability to affect the production process."

The unions "entrusted his highness, the emir, (with) the protection of rights of the employees in the oil sector," the unions said, according to KUNA. It said workers wouldn't be disciplined for taking part in the strike.

Adel al-Fadhel, a spokesman for the Kuwait Oil Company Workers' Union, confirmed workers would go back to work Wednesday. He said Sheikh Sabah spoke to the head of one of the unions Tuesday by telephone to assure his support for the workers.

"We're glad to announce that the strike has succeeded in preserving the rights of the workers in the oil sector," al-Fadhel told The Associated Press. "His highness, the emir, intervened and guaranteed to preserve the rights of the workers according to the law."

Al-Fadhel did not elaborate.

Workers began the strike Sunday over cuts in their pay and benefits packages after failing to reach an agreement with the Oil Ministry. Kuwait, an OPEC member, on average pumps 3 million barrels of oil a day.

The strike affected Kuwaiti production and cut slightly into the oil glut now facing the global market, lessening the impact of oil producers failing to reach a freeze agreement this weekend during a meeting in Doha, Qatar. With production now likely to rise with the workers returning to the fields, oil prices could be affected Wednesday.

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