Saudis angry at accusations of ‘laziness’

During a debate in an episode of ‘8 O’clock with Dawood’ show, Minister of Civil Service Khaled Al-Araj and Deputy Minister of Economy and Planning Muhammad Al-Tuwaijri, made the comments (Saudi Gazette)

Many Saudis expressed outrage at comments made by two ministers that civil servants in the Kingdom work only an hour a day and the country faces bankruptcy in three years unless austerity measures are enforced.

During a debate in an episode of ‘8 O’clock with Dawood’ show, Minister of Civil Service Khaled Al-Araj claimed that the state employees barely put in an hour a day at the office.

Deputy Minister of Economy and Planning Muhammad Al-Tuwaijri, speaking during the same TV debate, warned that government’s finances will come under severe pressure unless austerity measures are enforced.

“If oil prices keep declining and the Saudi government does not take action with economic and austerity measures . . . bankruptcy in the Kingdom is inevitable within three to four years.”

However, in Sunday’s episode, Tuwaijri clarified that using the term “bankruptcy” was a misjudgment on his part.

“I’m declaring it publicly, probably my expression betrayed me by using such a stern phrase,” he said. However, he has not been able to stem the tide of anger vented through social media.

Several hashtags have been activated on Twitter, including a hashtag under the name ‘hour with Alaraj.' One of the Saudis tweeted that such a statement was a crime against employees.

Speaking to Saudi Gazette, Abdullah Sukkar, an HR assistant manager in the private sector, said, “There is no accurate Key Performance Indicator (KPI) to measure the individual performance to provide accurate individual productivity rate.”

Abdullah Al-Ghamdi, a senior legal adviser, said, “One-hour workday is an exaggeration and insulting to employees.”

However, Al-Ghamdi admitted that productivity was very low in government departments. “This is a fact that no one can deny.

Instead of bashing the minister for his admittedly inappropriate and untimely comments, why don›t we try to find a solution that benefits the economy?”

A Saudi mother of four workaholic sons said that labeling all public sector workers as lazy was stereotyping them. Several hashtags have been activated on Twitter, saying that such a statement was a crime against employees.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:49 - GMT 06:49
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