Labor Laws in Saudi Arabia
By Aslam Abdullah, TMO Editor-in-Chief
In a video circulating on the internet and published on CNN, a Saudi Arabian citizen is shown beating his domestic servant brutally for entering his house without announcing. The video shows blurry pictures of the victim and the perpetrators and it does not provide the proof that the perpetrator is Saudi or someone else wearing the long dress so common in Saudi Arabia. It also does not reveal the name of the victim nor his nationality.
Facts ought to be determined in this case, but one fact is well known to people who work in Saudi Arabia is that there are labor laws and minimum wages that are universally implemented in the Kingdom. It is the arbitrary decision of the owner or the employer to decide the fate of a labor on his will and mood. Obviously, the labor remains at the mercy of its employer accepting all the conditions thrown upon. The possibility of abuse is much higher in this style of work than in an environment that is governed by certain laws. Saudi Arabia should at least honor its labor force that is helping it build a modern state with all modern amenities. Much of the Saudi infrastructure is run and maintained by the imported labor. It should at least be given dignity that every human being deserves.
We would not bring Islam in making this appeal because people can immediately turn the debate in a different direction by saying that Saudi scholars know better than the writers of Muslim Observer. We would appeal to the common sense of Saudi authorities and citizens to look into this issue seriously and see what improvement can be done. If labor is happy and feel secure and dignified, it certainly put its heart in every thing it is assigned to do. Otherwise it would remain in constant fear and that is not a good condition. Saudi Arabia should learn from the developing countries and see how a law law can be implemented that can secure the dignity of labor and the interests of the business owners.