Saudization Of The Workplace
According to stall manager Hassan Saleh Salman Arawiti the serious problems at Alkhobar’s produce market began exactly one year and two months back. At that time, as a part of the Kingdom’s Saudization efforts, the municipality forced out the Bangladeshis who had worked at the market for more than a decade. Repeated raids involving the police eventually ensured that all the expatriates were permanently driven away.
Apparently, no one stopped to ask why the Bangladeshis were there in the first place. They…. uh…. work.
“The leaseholders of the stalls tried to hire Saudis but it wasn’t very successful,” Arawiti said. “Those Saudis had no experience in the produce business and couldn’t work the long hours the business requires for profitability. Most Saudis stayed just a week or two and they were gone. The labor problems led to some stalls closing at that time.”
Customers became dissatisfied with the environment at Alkhobar’s halaga. They didn’t want to deal with the poor service and variable quality of the produce there. Arawiti explained that many supermarkets had begun offering produce by the carton. Customers, especially women, liked the convenience of buying their fruits and vegetables from the same place they purchased their other groceries. The stall managers found that even after the situation at Alkhobar’s halaga stabilized, the customers didn’t return. These days only five stalls are functioning.
It takes two Saudis to replace each expatriat worker. One wonders why they went to all the trouble of chasing out the expats, when they could have achieved the same result by simply unionizing them.
(crossposted at small dead animals)