Women workers to get transport, baby care services: Al-Ghafis

Ali Al-Ghafis

Saudi Gazette report

– Minister of Labor and Social Development Ali Al-Ghafis has disclosed his ministry’s plan to provide transport and baby-sitting facilities to support women workers.

He said the ministry would create more job opportunities for women as part of its efforts to realize the objectives of Vision 2030. “We will also intensify the Saudization drive and enable women to work after removing the obstacles facing them,” he explained.

Asked about shortage of jobs in the remote regions of Baha, Al-Ghafis said the government was trying its best to achieve balanced development in all regions of the Kingdom.

“We are now intensifying our efforts to Saudize jobs in the private sector,” he said, adding that the move would create more job opportunities for young Saudi men and women.

The minister was speaking to Al-Madina Arabic daily after conducting a lightning inspection of commercial shops and private companies in the southern region of Baha.

The ministry has signed an agreement with the emirate of Baha to back its Saudization drive. “This program is supported by the Interior Ministry and all other government departments,” he added.

He said the Interior Ministry deals with security matters during inspection tours conducted by squads of the Ministry of Labor and Social Development.

Al-Ghafis said his Baha tour was aimed at intensifying the Saudization drive in the region. “We wanted to make sure that only women are employed at lingerie shops. We have introduced a number of programs to create jobs for women to empower them. They include transport and nursery services as well as financial support through the Social Development Bank.”

He said the social insurance fund would finance the programs. “During my tour I came to know that many women are unaware of this financial support,” he added.

The minister said he had noticed many shops and institutions were not following the system of 48-hour workweek — either 9 hours for five days or eight hours for six days.

“All workers should know their rights protected by the Labor Law,” he added.

Al-Ghafis commended young Saudi men and women for their enthusiasm and their readiness to develop their capabilities. “If a company terminates a Saudi worker they have to appoint another Saudi in his/her place,” he added.

He praised private companies for their efforts to train Saudis and enhance their capabilities and skills. “Saudi workers must reciprocate constructively by going to work on time and doing their work efficiently to win the confidence of their employers,” he added.

He said the ministry has taken action against companies that have appointed foreigners in place of Saudis. “This is a clear violation of the law,” he added.

Referring to Saudization of the gold and jewelry sector, the minister said shops and showrooms that violate the law would be punished. “We’ll close the shops that repeat the offense.”

“There is no exemption in applying 100 percent Saudization in the gold and jewelry sector,” the minister insisted. “We’ll not show any leniency against violators.”

Asked about increase in family violence against women and children, Al-Ghafis said his ministry would do everything possible to protect them from violence.

“We have set up a family council, which has started its work recently. It has three committees to deal with issues of the elderly, women and children. The council has given the authority to recommend necessary regulations for the protection of women and children and elderly,” he said.