Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Aramco and the “Sequence of Disruptions” | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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In the past, two companies played a leading role in the development of our society; namely ‘Saudi Arabian Airlines’, and ‘Aramco’. The former has since left this field of distinction, as it faltered and became bloated, and lost its finest men. The latter seems to be following the same path, after its loyalty towards employees has come into question, as a result of numerous upheavals. In fact, some of Aramco’s executives have shown great versatility in inventing new forms of disturbance and irritation, to the extent that the company’s employees are now living in constant anxiety. An example of such would be the constant “buyout” offers, or proposals to move the company; where the employee has a choice between the ‘frying pan’, or the ‘fire’. Regarding these employees, some have not accumulated the years of service required to entitle them to a social security pension, yet they are obliged to pay off the company’s accommodation allowance loan. These employees face such conditions, despite the fact that some have received high performance appraisals over the past years.

In a notable recent article by Abdul-Aziz al-Suwaid, entitled “Aramco and the Buyout”, the writer described the company’s practice of threatening to transfer its employees, or lay them off, as unethical. It is a sign that the company is not fulfilling its obligations towards its personnel. I hope that al-Suwaid’s words, and the comments of his readers, will reach the senior leadership of Aramco, and that they will act to protect their employees from the dominance of some company executives. Before long, these employees will lose what remains of their long-standing loyalty to the company.

This layoff of Saudi workers is happening at a time when Aramco continues to hire foreign employees, and I doubt that they are more qualified than the local staff. If Aramco continues in this manner, it will tarnish the positive reputation that it has made over the past long years, in terms of its relationship with its staff and the wider society. Aramco, a pioneering company, should continue to remain role model in management, rather than imitating other companies, which are inferior in both importance and value, by inventing means to lay off its employees. We do not need any more unemployment, misery or idleness.

Will the company’s senior leadership intervene to stop this sequence of ‘disruptions’, considering the instability and lack of job security currently being experienced by the company’s employees and their families?