Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Saudi Arabia: Female Cases Rise by 25% in Labor Ministry | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Jeddah, Asharq Al-Awsat- The number of complaints filed by females to the Primary Committee for Workers’ Problems [PCWP] has increased to make up 25% of all filed cases and complaints, according to the Ministry of Labor.

Ali Al-Ghamdi, chairman of the PCWP in Mecca, told Asharq Al-Awsat that compared to the past when cases filed by females were few, they now constitute 25% of all cases. Most cases and complaints are filed by Saudis, which is on the rise due to problems in recruitment plans.

This comes at a time when the Chairman of the PCWP revealed that some private companies use ploys to repel employees from the workplace, instead of firing them. He said, “Nowadays, companies do not fire employees in a straightforward manner but instead put other means to play until the employee opts to quit of his own accord. This way the company prevents law suits.”

Al-Ghamdi called upon companies to take heed to rules and regulations set by the Ministry of Labor. He warned owners of companies against neglect of their employees, and asked that they be given their full rights.

He also revealed that the committee is currently looking into a case submitted by 100 Saudi women who filed a lawsuit against their company, as they were allegedly fired with no valid reasons. They are currently in the process of studying both sides’ cases.

The committee receives a number of cases against people who commit serious violations, says Al-Ghamdi. These cases include, for example, such violations of the labor system as hiring an unqualified worker for a job he did not apply and come to the country for. Or to illegally hire a foreign worker whom you did not sponsor.

The Ministry of Labor is also looking into a case filed by a number of employees against their company due to constant delays in salary payment. Ghassan Deib, an employee at a private company, said, “When payday arrives every other month our salaries are deliberately delayed. Employees are also denied usual privileges such as medical insurance and the like. This is why we quit our jobs and look for work in another company.”

Another employee, who preferred to remain anonymous, said that he was being subjected to odd treatment by the company he worked for. He believes that this may be because the owner of the company is not Saudi. The company does not give him vacations claiming that they cannot afford to lose any time, he says.

It should be noted that a report issued by the Saudi Ministry of Labor last year revealed that there is great gender disparity in the Saudi workforce due to flawed methods of recruitment. The participation of women is limited to no more than 5% of the total number of workers in the country, which is the lowest rate all over the world according to international statistics.

The Human Development Report in Saudi Arabia showed that although the sex ratio tends to be similar in Saudi Arabia, the number of female Saudi workers does not exceed 300 000 workers.

The report, whose objective was to set a recruitment strategy for women in Saudi Arabia for the next 25 years, showed that there is a considerable difference between the educational level of women in the work force and that of men. Fifty percent of Saudi women hold a university degree, whereas male university degree holders constitute only 16% of the male labor force, according to reports issued by the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency and the Human Development Report in 2003.