RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Shoura Council is to review Article 77 of the country’s labour law, which allows private sector firms to terminate Saudi employees with compensation.
Saudi Gazette cited council spokesman Mohammad Al-Mihanna as saying a committee had been formed to study feasible solutions to the “problems” brought by the article. “The committee will look into 8,000 requests of alteration and suggestions submitted by the general public. The committee will also meet with businessmen and owners of private companies,” he was quoted as saying. “The committee will meet with all the parties affected by the article to ensure that it offers comprehensive and beneficial solutions.” The article has been a controversial topic in the kingdom with critics demanding it should be annulled for limiting Saudisation efforts and resulting in the firing of Saudi employees.
Suggestions have included suspending the implementation of the article or raising the compensation amount to discourage the dismissal of nationals. Human Rights and Control Authorities Committee head Nihad Al-Jashi said the article was an injustice to citizens with low income, according to the publication. The review comes following the introduction of new rules last month that punish firms for dismissing more than 1 per cent of their Saudi workers unless they can prove to the government they have no other option. Companies who fail to inform their local labour ministry office of a mass sacking two months prior to the action will have recruitment frozen for a period of time based on the percentage of Saudi staff dismissed. Those that do provide the necessary documentation in time will receive a response in 45 days, which may ask them to replace foreign workers with Saudis or find new employment for the workers elsewhere.