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Kuwait warns strikers, says oil shipping normal

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  • Kuwait warns strikers, says oil shipping normal

    KUWAIT CITY — Kuwait warned striking workers Tuesday that it could recruit outside replacements to confront a wave of labor unrest that has disrupted shipping traffic and threatens the Gulf nation's critical oil sector.
    The extent of the disruption was unclear. An official at the state-run Kuwait Petroleum Corp. said Tuesday that exports of crude oil and other petroleum products were going ahead as normal, according to comments carried on the official state news agency.
    Kuwaiti authorities have grown increasingly uneasy during a series of strikes begun last month by civil servants seeking greater pay and benefits - on top of already generous perks such as free health care and low-interest personal loans. The protests mirror other instances of labor unrest rippling through the Arab world as part of a popular push for political and economic reform in the region.
    Although Kuwait is OPEC's fourth biggest oil exporter, officials say the country cannot afford to significantly boost the payroll of its huge public sector.

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