Sunday, May 31, 2015



ABHA: Saudi women working at clothing stores here have called on the Labor Ministry to crack down on owners because they apparently work long hours, are paid low salaries, have no access to childcare facilities, not given days off, and not provided free transport.

In addition, they claim that the public in general have no trust in them as salespeople, and often abuse them verbally. They also called on the government to force shops to close at 9 p.m. so that they can have time with their families and to socialize.

Fatima Al-Hayyan, a business expert, claimed that more than 50 percent of women working in sales have resigned, citing lack of job security and heavy workload.

Women here said that the average of SR4,500 they earn a month is not enough to meet their needs, especially since they have to work nine hours a day. One woman, Abrar Al-Ghamdi, said she spends SR1,200 of her SR4,500 salary a month on transport.

Alia Al-Assiri, a salesperson, said that the shop where she works does not provide a chair for her to sit down. "The ministry has ordered shops to have chairs for workers but this one has not complied with these directives," she said. 

Al-Assiri said she has to work nine hours a day because the owner forces her to make up the time she takes for prayers. Another woman, Sarah Mohammed, said she works nine hours at the weekends and eight and a half hours during the week, which affects her family life.

Fatima Al-Mu'badi said that customers are sometimes condescending and rude even though she is professional at all times. She said Saudi women must take courses to advance their careers, which would help break the stereotype that they are not suited for sales positions.

Ghala Al-Bishri called on customers not to look down on salespeople because they spend lots of time and effort promoting their products.

Dalal Al-Qarni, assistant director general of the women's department at the ministry in the Eastern Province, said officials have outlined the rights and obligations of owners and workers, including penalties for those failing to comply.

Al-Qarni said there has also been widespread campaigns to inform everyone about the third phase of the feminization program and the time frame for implementation. There has also been consultation with workers and business owners to resolve disputes and challenges, she said.

Ishraq Moawad, director of the inspection department at the ministry in Jeddah, said that the government is looking at introducing additional legislation to protect retail workers, which would include wage scales.

In addition, plans are being formulated to have community outreach programs that would tackle the stereotypes in the market about Saudi workers, said Moawad.

Citation - Taken From ZAWYA -

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