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With flight of skilled labor, women's workshops suffer.

Costs in women's workshops in the Eastern Province have jumped dramatically by as much as 50 percent due in part to salary increase demands by new workers replacing older employees who lost their jobs recently due to the Labor Ministry's campaign to oust illegal workers.

The campaign by the ministries of Interior and Labor against workers in violation of their status had reduced the number of women workers in these workshops. The campaign had a ripple effect on prices of material and health licenses among other costs. The campaign increased the number of other workers entering these workshops who saw an opportunity to demand a raise in their monthly salary. This reflected on the price of the services.

The Workshop Committee in the Eastern Chamber of Commerce is weighing the idea of specifying a minimum and a maximum salary to create a balance in this sector.

Shoua' Al-Dheilan, Workshop Committee president, said: "The price increase is the result of the campaign against laborers who were in violation of their status. This prompted the regular women workers to demand higher wages if the workshop owners wanted them to continue. This in turn increased the cost of a number of services." Al-Dheilan added the increase in price started when the labor license fee was raised to SR 2,400. It created an upward price curve of the materials used in the workshops, resulting in higher prices for end users.

She said the increase in the cost of labor in the workshops, coupled with residency renewal fees and tickets and environmental fines and health licenses could amount to SR 1,000 for each female worker. This meant a heavy toll on the workshop owners.

Al-Dheilan said the workshops used to make SR 40,000, but profits are now down to SR 12,000.

She said the Workshops Committee should announce a salary cap in the province. This, she said, was needed to put a balance between the prices and services provided together with the quality and performances that is acceptable to both the consumers and the owners.

Al-Dheilan pointed out the fact that Saudi-trained workers are scarce in this area, as a result of which women's workshop owners are under intense pressure for a raise in wages.

In addition she says expatriate female workers are more expensive costing between SR 80,000 and SR 85,000 annually.

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Publication:Arab News (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
Date:Apr 21, 2013
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