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Saudi Arabia

Labor unions to be a reality soon

The Ministry of Labor is in the process of enacting new regulations and legislation for the establishment of the General Union of Saudi Workers.
Special legal committees will include several agencies to consider the issue, according to a local newspaper report.
Workers’ union will be allowed in businesses employing more than 100. The scope of their activities will include working for improvement in salary, seeking promotions and benefits and monitoring the work environment and vocational safety. The terms and conditions of the work contract between the worker and the employer also are included in the improvements.
Surveys estimate that there are more than 2 million establishments across the Kingdom with 7 million legal workers and 700,000 Saudi workers.
Muhammad Radwan, head of the National Labor Committee, said that the committee moved to act immediately after the decision by the labor minister.
“All regulatory and legal aspects of the bylaws of the union are already developed,” said Radwan.
“The Kingdom has become an integral part of the world,” Radwan said. “In fact, it is a member of the International Labor Organization, and the condition of membership in this organization is to establish unions according to international standards.”
Previously, the labor system of the Kingdom banned the establishment of such unions, but with the accession to ILO in 2001, a serious movement to establish labor union took pace.
There are currently 27 firms with 27 labor committees.
“Pioneers of labor union committees in the Kingdom were employees and workers at Saudi Aramco, Saudi Telecommunications and Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industries,” Radwan said. “But the approval by Labor Minister Adel Fakeih to establish the union came by the end of 2011.”

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