Haia accused of violating feminization agreement

Haia accused of violating feminization agreement
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Haia accused of violating feminization agreement
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Updated 22 September 2013

Haia accused of violating feminization agreement

Haia accused of violating feminization agreement

Labor Minister Adel Fakeih has accused the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (Haia) of violating an agreement reached with the ministry on the feminization of lingerie and accessory shops, a local Arabic newspaper reported on Tuesday.
“The ministry has received several complaints from owners of women’s (lingerie) and accessory shops that Haia members are dictating conditions that do not figure in the orders issued by the ministry, or the memorandum of understanding signed between the ministry and the Haia, related to the shops that sell (lingerie),” Fakeih reportedly states in the letter sent recently to Haia President Sheikh Abdul Latif Al-Asheikh.
The minister claims that Haia members are overriding the ministry’s authority and responsibility for employing women in shops, according to the report.
The minister reportedly states in his letter that Haia members have introduced unapproved conditions including blocking women customers from bringing their mahrams (men guardians) into the shops. Haia members also want the entire shop curtained off from the public as is the case with dressmaking shops, and there should be special sections for women’s accessories at department stores.
The letter states further that Haia members have demanded opaque partitions between the woman sections and other parts of shops so outsiders cannot see female customers and workers, the newspaper reported.
The letter reportedly states that shop owners have complained that Haia members ordered them to sign an undertaking to introduce these additional conditions. In addition, Haia members threatened shop owners that workers of all violating shops would be jailed and the shops closed.
The conditions stipulated by the ministry for these shops are that all women employees should be Saudis, the shop owner and his women workers must comply with the terms and conditions stipulated in work contracts, the employer must block the view into the shop, and ban the entry of men. The conditions also include that the owner should not employ both men and women together in a shop and a security guard must be employed if the shop is not protected with an electronic security system.
Shop owners had until July 7 to implement all the conditions laid down by the ministry.
The punitive measures announced by the ministry do not include the jailing of workers or owners who violate regulations. However, the ministry stated that shops violating the agreement would be placed in the Red Zone of the Nitaqat Program, have their files blocked by the ministry’s computer system, their commercial registration frozen or blocked, or be permanently shut down.