Published: Feb 28, 2011 00:10 Updated: Feb 28, 2011 00:10
JEDDAH: Employees in the private sector have appealed to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah to take steps to raise their salaries along with a 15-percent pay hike for government employees.
Their demands have been appearing in the form of a campaign called “We are also Saudis” on the social networking Facebook.
The government announced that the 15 percent cost-of-living allowance will be merged with the basic pay of public-sector employees on the safe return of the king after his treatment in the United States. The government is the largest employer of Saudis. Public sector employees have benefited from past pay hikes, such as the one that occurred to honor King Abdullah's ascension to the throne in August 2005 following the death of King Fahd.
But Saudis working in the private sector who have called for compensation as well point out that the cost of living factors hitting Saudis working in the government sector also affect them.
“It is the right of private sector workers to demand equal treatment with the government sector workers because all of us are the citizens of the same country and we all work hard for the development of our country,” Asem Al-Haidary told Arab News.
The government has worked for years to replace foreign workers with Saudis in the private sector under its Saudization policy, aimed at tackling one of the biggest problems the country faces: its dependence on foreign labor. Saudis in the private sector say they feel they are being denied the bounty offered their public-sector counterparts despite the fact that they have chosen to enter a segment of the workforce the government would like to see more Saudis join.
“We are all delighted at the safe return of the king, who wishes the welfare of all the people," said Muhammad Al-Mastouri. "However, the government’s pay increase (for government employees only) proves to be an injustice to us in the private sector."
Mastouri also says he believes the increase in wages is going to spur further price hikes. Saudi Arabia has seen in recent years high inflationary growth that has put considerable pressure on family budgets. Mastouri says he has earned SR6,000 a month for several years during which rent prices and food costs have risen considerably.
Abdullah Al-Motairy said that while the government is urging young Saudis to enter the private sector, it is on the other hand rewarding its government workers without considering the chilling effect this might have on Saudis seeking private-sector employment.
“We find it hard to make ends meet with a static salary pattern," he said. "Our monthly income suffices only for the first two weeks. After that we are driven to look for loans to feed and house our families for the rest of the month."
Faisal Al-Mashhadi said he recalls feeling the shrift the last time government employees were given pay raises, during the last spike in global food prices.
"But the government leaves us private-sector employees to the mercy of the owners of private companies.”
Farras Al-Fakieh said the disparity in salaries between Saudis in the private sector and government employees will drive Saudis away from the private sector to seek the shelter and protection of the periodic pay hikes exclusively for government employees.
Fahd Al-Ghoraib said he has felt the pinch from his landlord, and suggested the government could implement a policy to stabilize the rise in real estate and rentals. “Rents should be increased in a reasonable manner or else thousands of Saudi families will be evicted from their homes,” he said.
Is this salary incrase only for Saudis or for all nationals? Everybody needs to eat 3 times, everybody has family and everybody has responsibility. I hope the private employers will not discriminate non-saudis because, we are in Kingdom of Humanity.
KASHIF Feb 28, 2011 21:23 Report abuse
what about the expatriate ? we are also a strong part of country(out of 18.7 million Saudi we are 8.7 million ) and contributing towards a successes full kingdom also effected to inflation please think about us after the citizen of kingdom.
EXPAT Feb 28, 2011 21:30 Report abuse
All Expatriates are working for the dovelopemet of the Kingdom, We should get this cost-of-living allowance . eg. If we going panda super market we can't say pls. give items with low price because we have only small salarry. some famous company like SAUDI OGER LTD. etc. they are still giving 800 and 500 and 400 for the worker, they only care about Lebanese employee they will get any thing like cost-of-living allowance they are getting past two years other expt. getting nothing. this shold be stoped. Even king order holiday on last satuarday - company not care this order, this is the situation right now in some of other company. They should care all employees.
JOHN D. Feb 28, 2011 22:21 Report abuse
Asalamu alaikum! I wonder why only Saudis get the pay hike? just to appease them to avoid protest? We expatriates are also helping build the economy of of this country and whether we like it or not, we perform a lot better than most of the Saudis employed, I hope the government will be fair enough to review labor rules in the spirit of fairness and equality.
MOHAMED TALIB Feb 28, 2011 22:23 Report abuse
Why only Saudis? What have expatriates done not to give them pay-rise. Expatriates are the main back-bone of Saudi economy and why they must be deprived of pay-hike? Is this what Shariah says????????