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????????
MOSTAK SOBHAN Feb 28, 2011 22:28 Report abuse
Pay hike for Saudis ONLY? It does not benefit the country as a whole. This creates a disparity among the citizens. Now all Saudis are Government Employee! So what happens to those who are in Private Sector. Oh I see for the you have written you piece now. What about those who are not even employed? Forget the foreigners, they are not humen being to begin with!
Pay hike for few creates inflation and that is hurting the less welloff. Inflation can be checked in country easily where some of the basic commodities price is controled by the government. Instead of payhike the Riyal should be strengthened. That way inflation can be offset and more emphasis should be given on creating jobs for those who doesn't have it. Throwing money around doen't solve the issue!
EXPAT Feb 28, 2011 22:36 Report abuse
What about expats? Everyone knows how hard we work. We're feeling the pinch of inflation, just like any other Saudi. Do the expats in govt service have any chance of getting the 15% hike?
MOHAMMED OSMAN Feb 28, 2011 22:38 Report abuse
And also Expats as well; as we too are legal residents of this Country and we whole heartily love the King of Humanity
MOHAMMAD ALI ABDULLAH Feb 28, 2011 22:39 Report abuse
Alhamdolillah it was nice to know the well being of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques. From the depth of our hearts, we pray for his long, healthy and happy life. It was also a generous gesture by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques to extend benefits for the nationals in the government sector. The above news is also welcoming as nationals working in the private firms also deserve to get some share of the benefits. At the same time, the government should not forget the large expat community that is residing in the KSA and contributing to the welfare and growth of the country. The expat community also feels the pinch of the rising cost of living with price hikes in food items, rents and practically everything. The government should also advise and ensure that all the firms make salary increase for expats as well especially on the blessed occasion of the healthy recovery of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques.
JACK DESROLLE Feb 28, 2011 22:41 Report abuse
So - non-government employees want a higher salary... from the government? How interesting! In the West, a "private sector" salary is determined by the profitability of the business you work for. I.e., capitalism. If you want a higher salary, make your business more competitive...
RAZA Feb 28, 2011 22:48 Report abuse
This is a real problem with most private companies and establishments. People are working for the same pay for more than a decade, as there is no culture to adjust the salaries. I think Govt should extand the scope of the order. And one more thing, if we talk about cost of living Saudis and expats are equally hit by it.
AN EXPATRIATE Feb 28, 2011 23:03 Report abuse
What about expats ? We are also here to share everything with our Saudi brothers, and we have also played our role in the development of the Kingdom, we are always looking forward for the betterment of Saudi Arabia and it's people, we wish to see them in prosperous and flourishing condition always. Due to heavy inflation and immense increase in the house rents Kingdomwide everything has become expensive. Therefore we appeal to His Majesty Custodian of the two holy Mosques King Abdullah to consider the present situation and issue orders to increase the salaries of expatriates and grant them some benefits also as they are working shoulder to shoulder with Saudis for the development and stability of this great country. I wish His Majesty very good health and all the best for him and his government and people.
MOHAMMED Feb 28, 2011 23:07 Report abuse
Why not Expats? Are they not human beings? Did they not contribute in the Kingdom's development? Are they not suffering from the inflation? Do they not love the King and the Kingdom? I humbly request the King of humanity to extend the good gestures for the expat community as well.
REX Feb 28, 2011 23:10 Report abuse
So now only Saudis both in private and government sector are the only ones affected by inflation and have the right to ask for increase...forget about those expats that are working very hard and affected by inflation.My company brag about its world-class status but when it comes to benifits only Saudis deserves the additional increase.
WASIM YOUNIS Feb 28, 2011 23:12 Report abuse
In all honesty, it's funny to see how people are terming the rise in public sector as "unfair", how on earth do you expect private companies to pay you 15% more all of a sudden for the work which foreigners do for 30% less, totally unfair!
INDIAN EXPAT Feb 28, 2011 23:20 Report abuse
and what about expats working in private companies ? cost of living factors not effecting them ? if home rents are going to increase again and food prices are touching sky then how can we survive here ? our contribution is as much to develop this country as that of saudi nationals.So we request our Beloved King, King of Humanity to asked private firms to increase our salaries also.
SAM BECKER Feb 28, 2011 23:22 Report abuse
The reason for the hike in the government sector was increase in living cost dramatically during the last years. Now Saudis from the private sector also asking for the increase, right. But what about the expats, do they get any discounts at supermarket or rental? does this increased living cost not affecting them?
ANONYMUS Feb 28, 2011 23:23 Report abuse
Good article, especially when it ask for the same pay hike as that of the governement section and have these words Ã¢ÂÂœ...all of us are the citizens of the same country...". GREAT. Similaly, the Saudi women when marry to non Saudi husbands there children are not given the Saudi nationalty at birth, while the Saudi men who marry the non Saudi wives there children are automaically give Saudi nationality. I ask "ARENT THESE SAUDI WOMEN NOT CITIZEN OF THE SAME COUNTRY?". Definitely they are the equal citizen of this same country, then why not equal treatment? There children should also be given Saudi nationalty same as in the case of Saudi men. These Saudi women have to suffer in every walk of life because of there problems due to non Saudi children. SOMEONE PLEASE HELP THEM TOO.
PHILIP B. CEZAR Feb 28, 2011 23:47 Report abuse
In my simple way of thinking, all employees should be given an equal treatment in this Kingdom as far as salary increase is concerned. Salary increase should be given to all employees regardless of their work descriptions, race, and nationality. We, non-saudi people are also human beings who need food to eat, home to live, and family to support. More so, we are also contributing to the economic stability and progress in this country. I hope that the Saudi Government will realize how important to value the rights of each and every individuals.
DSRTFSH Feb 28, 2011 23:54 Report abuse
Stop saudiazation. Then private sector will increase Saudi salary hike. Growth in private sector is a nightmare due to saudiazation.
UNA NIMOUS Feb 28, 2011 23:54 Report abuse
saudis work in private business should get 15% also.
UMM FAISAL Feb 28, 2011 23:59 Report abuse
I hope they do . We are actually living here not in our countries, whatever money we get, we send them back home, which leaves us barely nothing. And these landlords also increase house rent almost every year like we are earning thousands of dollars. I hope the MINISTRY OF HEALTH also gives us females housing allowance like our female counterparts in the MINISTRY OF INTERIOR. My husband is not getting any and so do I. And I want to tell the concern government sector to please allow us to get dependent visa for our families whether the employee is a male or female. It would be more of a benefit to Saudi Arabia because with that, the expatriates would be spending most of their money here. Better yet, why not give us permanent residency status. it is a FACT that the saudization is far from reality. No matter what , it is a fact that the expats are working more than the Saudi citizens. When it comes to hospital staff... who are the ones who are really dedicated to their job, those who are working with dedication, concern and really giving honest to goodness nursing care, it is the expatriates. But of course, there are also Saudis who are dedicated to their job, but only a handful. I am very much thankful to God that i have worked here in this generous country. I just hope and pray that in time we would get the same privileges and rights as HUMAN BEINGS as the Saudi citizens. MAY ALLAH BLESS KING ABDULLAH FOR HIS GENUINE KINDNESS AND GENEROSITY AND FOR HIS COURAGE AND INITIATIVE TO MAKE SAUDI ARABIA A BETTER ARAB COUNTRY.
ROBIN Mar 1, 2011 00:01 Report abuse
@MANA: Get real! I bought a new car not long ago and found the same care (made in the USA) cost $10,000 lest in the USA. The name of the game in Saudi is to take the expat for every penny they can.
MOHAMMAD ALI Mar 1, 2011 01:24 Report abuse
This pay hike whic is for Saudis is very one sided...Saudi Government doest mind about other nationals...very obvious...if you are expats, dont expect anything and dont even think of pay hike....what ever salary you receive in your work is same as is....The govt is only trying to calm its citizens for fear of people's protests on the streets...that's the main thing....
PETER WRIGHT Mar 1, 2011 01:27 Report abuse
What school of journalism did Mr. Al-Sulami attend? I thought that responsible reporting was supposed to present a balanced picture to the reader. Mr. Al-Sulami lives in a fools paradise where the economy of Saudi Arabia is supported by Saudis.
Why should an expatriate be paid any less than a Saudi? Improving yourself isn't done by subduing another person. You have to motivate yourself to be better than the rest. Unfortunately that really isn't the case with Saudi's who have everything spoon fed to them. They really don't feel the need to perform any better or show some genuine results because they'll get taken care of anyways.
Private companies are under no legal obligation to up someones salary just because of their nationality. These companies are there to make a profit and hard work doesn't go unnoticed. So if you're Saudi and stuck in a private job... tough! You can't work private and ask for public sector pay scales. And even if there is a pay rise... make sure that it applies to everyone... its only fair after all.
Frankly... who even cares about this article? In essence its a page or so about something in Facebook. I could find a dozen or so things to rant about on the internet, but I don't have time... because I'm paid to do more important things... like work... and outperform Saudi's.
As an afterthought... doesn't the management of Arab News screen any of these articles before they're published? Are they accepting articles from these writers on the basis of their nationality? I for one see very little journalistic skill in Mr. Al-Sulami.
I'd therefore like to ask Mr. Khaled Almaeena to prevent such narrow minded bigots as Mr. Sulami from publishing in this newspaper. I remember a time 20 years ago when Arab News was more selective in what they published. Now they just seem to publish anything a Saudi hands to them. It's really sad.
JAMAAL ABDUL-RAHIM Mar 1, 2011 01:29 Report abuse
People should be compensated for their work in a way that is fair, equitable and commensurate with the work they perform. There should be no distinction between Saudis and foreign nationals in this regard. As one reader pointed out, is there a sliding scale for people receiving less money in the stores and other businesses? I don't think so. "Be just; it is closer to piety; and fear Allah. Surely Allah is Well-Acquainted, All-Aware with what you do." Al-Qur'an, al-Maa'idah, 5:8
Al-Allaamah ash-Shaykh Abdur-Rahmaan ibn Naasir as-Sa'dee, may Allah, the One High Above, have mercy on him, said about this ayah (verse): Every time you seek after justice, and exert effort in acting in accordance with it, that will be closer to the piety of your hearts. For when justice becomes complete, the taqwaa (fear and awareness of Allah) becomes perfected." (Tayseer al-Kareem Ar-Rahmaan)
The peace and prosperity of a society is in direct proportion to the extent that it lives in the Light of Revelation. The land that witnessed the the sending down of the Qur'an, the uncreated Speech of Allah, and the conveyance and beautiful exemplification of that Message by the Seal of the Prophets and the Imaam of the Messengers, sallAllaahu alaihi wa sallam, should establish the highest standards of justice.
BASHEER Mar 1, 2011 01:38 Report abuse
Well said , I hope it would include everybody as we all need to cope with the rising cost of inflation