JEDDAH — A number of Saudis working in the newly Saudized jobs in sales outlets across the Kingdom complained of low salaries, long hours and unappealing work environment. Saudis working in car spare parts shops said the salaries are low and are forced to work a minimum of nine hours daily without the weekend off. Some of them said they did not receive any training to work in the field and their employers did not provide them with health insurance coverage.
Investors in the car spare parts sector justify the low salaries citing the lack of work experience. Speaking to Al-Madina Arabic daily, they said it was impossible to give high salaries to Saudi workers who do not possess any job experience, which is an important requirement to work in the field. They said the salary raise was always tied to experience acquired over time.
Abdulelah Al-Garni, a salesman in a spare parts shop, said he received a monthly salary of SR3,000. He works two shifts for a total of nine hours each day.
Al-Garni says he is still under training and does not have medical insurance or other incentives.
Omar Al-Saadi, another salesman in a car parts shop, said in small establishments most of the pressure is on the salespeople. They are supposed to achieve sales target even though they are paid very low salaries and do not enjoy any incentives, he said, adding that a one-day weekend is not sufficient to attend to family matters.
He said the authorities should unify the regulations regarding work hours and weekend holidays.
Yousuf Al-Ghamdi, who also works as a spare parts saleman, said, "I love working in this field because it suits my skills. The only problem I have here is the long hours and two shifts. The low salary and perks is another issue; they are not enough to fulfill the ambitions of young Saudis.”
Reda Al-Obaidi, an investor in the field, said, "The salaries and incentives are determined based on the experience of an employee and his ability to work long hours and achieve the target. It is known in our field that the average salary of a beginner is SR3,000-SR4,000 a month. Employees with good experience could receive up to SR7,000."
He said most Saudi employees did not gain any experience in this field. "Those who have experience are lured to big companies with good offers and incentives. Small and medium establishments cannot compete with such offers, because they will risk losing money and closing down," Al-Obaidi said.
The Ministry of Labor and Social Development started implementing Saudization in five key sectors from Jan. 7 (Jamad Al-Awwal 1). Jobs in building and construction material shops, medical appliances and equipment shops, car spare parts shops, carpet showrooms, confectioneries and patisseries were nationalized in the third phase of the Saudization program in 12 major sectors.
The Human Resources Development Fund (HADAF) has transformed its branches across the Kingdom into employment centers to support Saudi jobseekers.