MANILA, June 16, 2011â€”Migrante Middle East (ME) sounded the alarm over the impending massive layoffs in both local and international companies in Saudi, as the Saudi monarchy will soon be implementing its Nitaqat system.
In an email, John Leonard Monterona of Migrante-ME said, the Nitaqat system aims to ensure that Saudi nationals will be secured a job, however endangering the employment status of an alien worker.
Monterona said that 350,000 Filipino and Filipina workers would be laid off if the Nitaqat system will be fully implemented.
Under the Nitaqat system, Monterona explains, the Saudi Labor Department would issue a color, which corresponds to the compliance of the company in the â€œSaudizationâ€ scheme being implemented in the entire Kingdomâ€™s workforce.
â€œCompanies, local and foreign, will be classified into three categories: Green, if the company complies the minimum 10% of the total number of staff hired is Saudis; Yellow category if the number of local staff is below 10%; and Red if the company does not employ any single locals. The Saudi Labor Ministry has already announced that non-compliant or â€œRedâ€ companies will have their foreign hires only for six years. But this would be lifted if they will comply with at least the minimum Saudi-hire requirement of 10% of the entire workforce,â€ he said.
While the Saudi Labor Ministry had already clarified that there will be no massive layoffs among aliens, Monterona said that this does not take away the fear of Filipino workers in Saudi.
â€œThey fear that their companies would comply quickly with the new system. Although thereâ€™s an assurance that the Filipino workers hired by companies under the Yellow and Green categories wonâ€™t get affected by the six-year contract cap, or with the massive layoff, if ever,â€ Monterona said.
â€œThatâ€™s why weâ€™re calling on the Philippine government to review the issue and do something about this,â€ he said. (Noel Sales Barcelona)