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The Sorry Plights of OFWs in Saudi Arabia – Part 1

Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia

This entire month of March, I am devoting most of the Of Life and The Living spaces in featuring the variegated sorry plights of OFWs in Saudi Arabia, particularly those in the highly-urbanized cities of Al Khobar and Dammam — known as among the biggest industrial and commercial zones in the Kingdom.

Part 1 – Introduction

For the past few days now, I have had a series of casual conversations with some OFWs in Al Khobar and have come to know they had been facing situations such as the following:

  • Being placed under probation more than once
  • Not furnished a copy of their employment contract
  • Terminated from work without due process
  • Transferred to a branch or division/department with either same or another position without their permission
  • Demoted — or assigned to a position of lower rank – without a valid justification
  • Illegal withholding of salaries, or unlawful salary deductions
  • Not permitted to go back to work after suffering from a lingering but curable illness
  • Delayed release of salaries and benefits due them
  • Their companies do not follow the required prescription of offenses and penalty
  • Working overtime without appropriate pay
  • Doing a job other than what is being stipulated in their contract
  • Their actual salaries do not match with the salaries originally agreed or specified in their employment offer letter
  • Victims of “broken promises” of converting their status from single to family
  • End of Service Benefits (EOSB) — referred to in the Philippines as Separation Pay or Severance Pay — is computed not according to law
  • Their companies do not have well-defined policies, or they are not properly oriented with company policies
  • Unfair labor practices and treatment; racial discrimination

The above-cited situations will be tackled in Part 2 (that will be published in a few days from today).

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About Danilo Tao-tuan Naraja

I am an expatriate based in Jubail, Saudi Arabia and work in the Admin and HR Division of an oil and gas company. I am an HR practitioner for more than a decade. I used to work for a Cebu-based local newspaper. I love to write human interest stories and started writing when I was still in high school.

Discussion

12 thoughts on “The Sorry Plights of OFWs in Saudi Arabia – Part 1

  1. A brilliant update on working conditions in Arabia. Similar problems are also faced by a large number of Indian expats who work in the Arabian peninsula, but who unfortunately do not have any recourse available to them.

    Like

    Posted by shashankreddy93 | March 31, 2012, 10:36 am
  2. Thanks for informing us of these conditions. The more we know of events transpiring in other parts of the world — especially those that cause hardships for other humans — the more we come together as a race, and can help to support each other.

    Like

    Posted by Don Maker | March 30, 2012, 8:34 pm
  3. Thank you for following me. Best wishes and success.

    Like

    Posted by Dr. Kimberley Workman, DOM, MSOM, BA, AA | March 17, 2012, 2:13 pm
  4. Thanks for following my blog. Sometimes people in the United States gripe about working conditions here. Working in Saudi Arabia for awhile might sharpen their appreciation for the benefits some take for granted. Hopefully, conditions in Saudi Arabia will improve.

    Like

    Posted by hardrock45 | March 16, 2012, 9:56 pm
  5. Tks for following my bloghe conditions mentioned above indicate gross abuse of the rights of the workers. Is there no Labour union that can fight on their behalf to ensure the right and best HR practices are ensured?

    BTW, thanks for following my blog. Following yours. You have impressive credentials.

    Like

    Posted by Reading Pleasure | March 14, 2012, 11:47 pm
    • You’re welcome. This is a clear abuse of the rights of the workers. There are no labor unions in Saudi Arabia. These are not allowed. In cases of disputes between the employer and the employee, both, if possible, have to come up with an amicable settlement, as set forth under the Saudi Arabia’s Labor and Workmen Law. As has been observed, a settlement usually reached can never be said to be amicable in essence, as the complaint of the an employee will instead be addressed by sending him back to his home country.

      Like

      Posted by Danilo Tao-tuan Naraja | March 15, 2012, 9:27 pm
  6. Not in Saudi Arabia, where I observe people are not paid according to skills and competencies but according to nationalities.

    Like

    Posted by Danilo Tao-tuan Naraja | March 15, 2012, 9:10 pm

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pingback: The Sorry Plights of OFWS in Saudi Arabia – Part 4 « Of Life and The Living - March 30, 2012

  2. Pingback: Saudi Arabia And China Team Up To Build A Gigantic New Oil Refinery – Is This The Beginning Of The End For The Petrodollar? - London Ontario Alternative News for Local Business, World News, Sports & Entertainment Plus FREE CLASSIFIEDS - March 23, 2012

  3. Pingback: ANOTHER BRUSH FIRE: WAR DRUMS BEATING . . . again | Josiahe’s Blog - March 15, 2012

  4. Pingback: The Sorry Plights of Saudi Arabia – Part 2 « Of Life and The Living - March 11, 2012

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