Makkah hotel accused of unfairly axing Saudi staff
Senior-level Saudi employees of a well-known hotel in Makkah have alleged that the hotel management had forced them to resign by piling pressure on them. They said the management had fired more than 50 Saudi workers without giving any legitimate reason and replaced them with expatriates.
The affected employees wanted the authorities to intervene to stop the injustice and protect their rights guaranteed by the labor law.
“We have suffered a lot due to the arbitrary practices and violations of the management,” a representative of the employees told Al-Madinah Arabic daily. “The management was not implementing the Saudization program and employing expatriates in place of Saudis. This has resulted in the formation of expatriate lobby groups in the hotel who looked at Saudis as a threat to their jobs,” he explained.
Speaking about the violations committed by the hotel management, the Saudis said the hotel employed a large number of illegal expatriates and sheltered them at the times of inspections. They also said the hotel doesn’t employ the required number of Saudis as required by the Nitaqat program.
Sultan Al-Subhani, one of the victimized employees, said the hotel’s administrative staff, mostly Arabs, had been putting pressure on Saudi employees, forcing them to resign.
“There is a move by the managers to replace Saudis with foreign nationals,” Al-Subhani said. “Jobs such as HR manager and security manager are occupied by expatriates in violation of the labor law.”
Al-Subhani said being a front office staff he had informed the top management about the complaints that some managers misbehaved with Saudi workers. “But they ignored those complaints.”
The hotel’s manager asked Al-Subhani why Saudis were not interested to work at his organization. “We told him the reasons included bad treatment by managers. But he did not make any move to rectify the problem.”
Al-Subhani added: “The manager then leveled false accusations to discredit me. He wanted me to resign and leave the hotel.”
Saleh Mareki, another former employee, said: “I resigned because of pressure. It started with the resignation of front office manager who was replaced by an inexperienced expat worker. We had to teach him the work, although he was receiving double the salary we received.”
Hatim Fouad, former deputy manager for the front office, said most Saudis resigned from their jobs as a result of the management’s move to sideline them. He said they were denied promotions and pay raises in the past.
Saudi workers were not receiving any training to improve their performance. They were given the toughest punishment for violating regulations. But they did not impose the same punishment on expatriates who belonged to the nationality of the managers, Fouad said.
Ashraf Al-Zahrani, another former manager who joined the hotel five years ago, said the crux of the issue is that the expat management does not respect Saudi workers and wanted to replace them by unqualified expat workers. “They forced some of us to resign and fired many other Saudis from their jobs.”
Ahmed Bawajeeh also spoke about the management’s arbitrary actions. Al-Madinah Arabic daily contacted Adnan Al-Yami, public relations manager of the hotel, to get his response but he said he cannot confirm or deny the allegations. The newspaper asked him to speak to the management to reply to its questions. He then called back to inform that the management had refused to comment on the issue.
Saeed Al-Lehyani, public relations manager of the labor office in Makkah, also refused to comment on what kind of action his office was going to take against the hotel management.