Firing of Saudis: Telecom firm earns ministry wrath

newsimageJEDDAH — A telecommunication company has earned the wrath of the Ministry of Labor and Social Development for en-masse firing of its Saudi staff. The ministry has ceased the services of the company after its decision to sack the Saudi employees created an uproar on the social media, Makkah daily reported on Tuesday. Ministry spokesman Khalid Abalkhail announced through the ministry’s Twitter account that the ministry has stopped the services of the company and has opened an investigation into the incident. Legal consultant and King Abdulaziz University faculty member Omar Al-Khouli said there has been a wave of mass termination of Saudi employees recently. “The latest amendment to the Saudi Labor Law (Article 77) facilitated the companies to fire Saudi employees. The law has been safeguarding the interests of Saudi employees for the past 40 years. However, the latest amendment has tipped the balance in favor of the employer. The amendment has caused a ruckus over the past few weeks,” said Al-Khouli. He added the ministry has turned a blind eye on the firing of Saudi employees by several companies. “The Saudi market is undergoing a correctional period. Companies do have a right to fire and employ the right people but their actions and decisions should be sensible. The ground for firing employees should not be based on their nationality or race,” said Al-Khouli. He added that under the current labor law all terminated Saudi employees have no recourse but to get their end of service benefits. “They have no prospect of retrieving their jobs. They just have to begin seeking for a different job.” Media reports say claim that the Shoura (Consultative) Council is to discuss introducing some amendments into the labor law particularly Article 77. Abdullah Al-Fouzan, chairman of the council’s committee on social affairs, family and youth, was quoted as saying that said the council and the Ministry of Labor and Social Development were working together to make the amendments which will specifically include the controversial article which enables owners of private establishments and companies to fire Saudi citizens. He said the committee held a number of meetings with officials from the ministry, experts and the concerned authorities to contain the adverse effects of some articles in the labor law from which the workers may suffer.