Minister of Labor Adel Fakeih announced his ministry would transfer labor disputes to the Ministry of Justice within three years after the issuance of the new criminal procedures law.
He also disclosed that the number of foreign workers in the Kingdom has reached 9 million, including 1.5 million domestic workers.
Speaking to Alsharq Arabic daily, Fakeih said the ministry received 9,956 complaints and cases involving workers last year.
“Of these, the majority of cases were related to foreigners. There were 5,715 cases (57.4 percent) involving foreigners while cases involving Saudis were 4,241 (42.6 percent),” he said, adding that the ministry was able to settle 8,628 of these cases.
The minister said transferring labor issues to the Ministry of Justice and subsequently to various courts would be more beneficial.
“There would be a legal basis while settling labor disputes if they are taken to the courts. This would, no doubt, improve the efficiency of the judicial process while handling labor litigation in addition to expediting their settlement,” he said.
Fakeih hoped the Ministry of Justice would take the initiative to set up labor courts to settle various labor issues.
“We would make available our resources if the Ministry of Justice asks for it during the transition period after establishing labor courts. The setting up of labor courts would ease the burden of our ministry in settling numerous labor problems,” he said.
Referring to multitude of labor disputes, the minister said that there is nothing unusual in it while considering the nature of labor markets anywhere in the world.
“As far as Saudi Arabia is concerned, there is every scope for an increase in the number of such problems because of the huge number of foreigners who belong to about 150 countries. The social and cultural backgrounds of these workers are immensely diverse,” he said, adding that the differences of views and outlooks between employer and worker may lead to strained relations and eventually disputes.
By RIYADH: ARAB NEWS ; Published: May 13, 2012 02:21 Updated: May 13, 2012 02:21