The Saudi labor minister warned private companies against firing Saudis and keeping foreign workers, even if the companies are suffering the effects of the global economic crisis.
January 19, 2009 9:12 by Aarti Nagraj
Labor Minister Ghazi Al-Gosaibi said yesterday that his ministry would not allow private sector companies to lay off Saudi employees on the pretext of global recession and at the same time retain foreign workers.
“We’ll not allow this,” the Saudi Press Agency quoted the minister as saying.
Al-Gosaibi warned some private companies against using the financial crisis as a pretext to get rid of Saudi employees, saying they would be dealt with sternly to protect the interests of citizens. “The Ministry of Labor is capable of stopping the retrenchment of Saudi workers if it becomes a phenomenon in violation of the labor regulations,” he said.
Al-Gosaibi hoped that the companies would not force the ministry to adopt deterrent actions against them, while requesting the cooperation of all parties to protect their interests.
The ministry has taken a series of measures to create job opportunities for Saudis. “The unemployment rate has fallen from 8 percent to 6 percent among Saudi men and from 26.6 percent to 24.9 percent among Saudi women,” the minister said. His statement was based on statistics provided by the Ministry of Economy and Planning.
Al-Gosaibi said the total Saudi work force had reached 4.078 million in February 2008 — 3.42 million men and 656,972 women. The number of unemployed Saudis fell from 454,000 to 400,000 (236,000 men and 164,000 women), representing 9.8 percent of the total Saudi work force.
Meanwhile, Deputy Labor Minister Abdul Wahid Al-Humaid opened at the ministry’s headquarters in Riyadh yesterday a meeting of labor committees formed to settle disputes.
Al-Humaid said the meeting would discuss the committees’ requirements to carry out their mission efficiently. “As you know, there are millions of guest workers in the Kingdom and it is your duty to settle disputes between them and their employers. You should handle their cases in a fair manner, so that you will remain in their fond memories even after they go back,” Al-Humaid said.
First seen in Arab News.