Arabnews: 12-hour work shifts fuel protests in Saudi Arabia

SHAFAQNA (International Shia News Association)- P. K. ABDUL GHAFOUR/Arabnews: Saudis and expatriates have commended Khaled Al-Asheikh, a Saudi columnist, for exposing human rights violations committed by private companies that force people to work more than 12 hours without holidays.

Al-Asheikh urged the Labor Ministry to look into the complaints of such workers and take action against their employers.

“Workers are kept away from their families for 14 hours at a time as a result of such policies,” he pointed out. “Some of these workers also have to travel for two hours daily to get to and from work.”

“After eight hours of sleep, these people get only two hours for leisure, shopping, family visits and other errands.”

Some pharmacies stipulate that employees work 12 hours and get paid over-time for the extra four hours, reports have claimed.

“Many companies exploit people’s need for jobs and treat them as properly, while most people do not tell anybody about such injustice, fearing they would lose their jobs. The Labor Ministry should intervene in this issue immediately,” he said.

Fuad Kawther, a Saudi aviation engineer, said working long hours would have a negative effect on employee productivity.

“There is a human factor issue at work places. If people are asked to work for long hours without rest, they are likely to make mistakes and this will have a negative impact on business, so managers have to think about this issue seriously,” he told Arab News.

“We are an Islamic country and we have to apply Islamic teachings on these matters. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) advised his followers not to overburden even their animals. He instructed the faithful to support their workers to reduce their burden, Kawther said”

A Saudi blogger, meanwhile, urged the Council of Ministers and the Human Rights Commission to look into the matter and allow workers to switch jobs from one company to another in search of better conditions.

Naif Al-Anazi, who spends about 12 hours outside his house due to work, also called for government intervention to resolve this social issue.

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