Saudi workers in private firms


Makkah newspaper

HE was working for an institution that implemented mandatory social insurance. He had a disagreement with his manager over his request for leave to accompany his sick mother, who was suffering from renal failure. He wanted to accompany his mother just to take care of her because she did not want to stay in hospital overnight.

The manager replied that the law does not allow that. He insisted that even if the mother was in a different country, the company could not grant him any leave to fulfill his filial responsibility. The man›s backlog of leave had run out and there was no chance to get sick leave. He was also not in a position to seek assistance from his relatives or friends.

He was absent from work and his mother died. The employee received condolences from his friends and relatives, even from his manager at work. After the funeral he returned to work but was told he was suspended because of his unauthorized absence. He had no other way but to accept the destiny.

The charge against him was absence from work for 19 days without a valid reason. Of course, he did not go to work for three days and that was enough to make a false charge that he was absent from work under the pretext of doing goodness to his mother who was dead.

He was terminated nine months ago. When asked for his financial dues, he was told: Your crime is greater than your dues. He said: Are you talking on the basis of the Saudi Labor Law? They said: We know the law better than you. He left the company with eyes full of tears, because he did not have any money left with him for his family›s expenses.

That poor man then went to the General Organization for Social Insurance (GOSI) to apply for its assistance. But he was surprised when they said he was still a registered employee with them. When he explained that he was terminated from his job nine months ago, they asked him to check with a specific department where he found his salary was registered along with the annual premium.

An official then explained to him that they cannot cancel the insurance registration until he paid back a quarter of the salary he had received without any right during his absence from work.

Oh God, how strong is our law in dealing with such poor employees to prevent them from earning their rights.

That institution framed several charges against the poor employee to deny him his rights. They terminated him arbitrarily without a genuine reason, exaggerated his violations to terminate him from his job, and besieged him even after the termination. If this continues, the manager›s vengeance will follow him even after death.

Some good people, who do not have money, advised him to lodge a complaint against the arrogant manager at GOSI. Soon after filing the complaint, GOSI removed his registration.

What will be the fate of individuals who do not know the rules and regulations to counter modern-day tyrants, who hide behind rules to threaten people without any right. Some managers get sadistic pleasure by recording perceived errors of their subordinates.

One such manager told me that if they maintained a huge file of faults committed by employees they could easily control them through threats or by instilling fear of penal action in them. This is indeed a modern-day management principle, which Freud had forgotten to mention in his books!

May God›s curse befall such arrogant managers who play with the lives of young Saudi men and women. The HR departments in many enterprises exploit the ignorance of job seekers and newcomers with executive bylaws that regulate labor relationship.

Many young Saudis have lost their legal battle in labor committees against private companies that terminated them from jobs. These institutions have created an appropriate environment to gather evidence against employees from the day they start work.