Call to fix minimum salary for Saudis in private sector
This will help provide suitable job opportunities to citizens and ensure continuity of job and social stability
The Federation of Labor Committees in Saudi Arabia has called for fixing a minimum salary for Saudi workers in the private sector to achieve labor market stability.
“This is also essential to attract Saudis to the private sector as well as to protect their rights with employers who intent to recruit cheap labor,” Nidal Ridwan, chairman of the federation told Okaz/Saudi Gazette.
He said most employers look for cheap labor to increase their profits, be they Saudis or foreigners. “This will be always in their minds unless forced by the state to change this mentality through legislation,” he added.
Saudi workers seek not only good salary at the private sector but also suitable weekly working hours, and above all job security in addition to qualification and training.
“Good salary will definitely attract a large number of young Saudis to the private sector but it will not ensure continuity and job stability,” he explained.
The fixing of minimum salary by legislative authorities and provision of incentives to Saudi youth would realize the objectives of both the government and employers. This will help provide suitable job opportunities to citizens and ensure continuity of job and social stability, he said.
Ridwan does not see any obstacle in fixing minimum salary. However, he said a social dialogue could be organized to reach a consensus on the issue.
“It’s difficult to fix minimum salaries in all sectors. It’s better to leave it to the demand and supply factor on condition of ensuring fair competition between Saudi and foreign workers,” he pointed out.
Dr. Abdul Aziz Jestineh, a member of the HR committee at Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said Saudi workers should get an attractive salary to encourage them to continue with the same employer as well as to show their capabilities and increase their productivity.
“Some companies compare between Saudi workers and foreigners in cost. This is embarrassing. Saudis are educated and ready to work if they are given a suitable working atmosphere,” he added.
They deserve attractive salaries to meet their living expenses and this is a legitimate demand all over the world. But Saudis face injustice because of comparison with expats despite the wide difference between their living situations, he said.
Jestineh called upon the Labor Ministry to go ahead with its Saudization program with greater zeal and ask private companies to train and employ Saudi workers. “If Saudis find a suitable working atmosphere, appreciation of their work and capabilities and provision of good training it will surely increase their productivity,” he said.
Jestineh does not support the view to fix minimum salary. “It will be difficult to fix minimum salary in the Kingdom because of the presence of a large number of expatriate workers.”
He called for fixing Saudization rate in every sector, adding that the rate should increase annually by 10 percent. This will force private companies to employ more Saudis. The Saudization rate should be different from one sector to another and one company to another considering their profitability.
This article was first published by the Saudi Gazette on April 20, 2016.