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Saudi truck drivers call for their profession to be nationalised – report

Saudi truck drivers call for their profession to be nationalised – report

The Saudi government has been urged to penalise those who hire expatriates to work as truck drivers

Saudi truck drivers are now demanding that expatriates should not be allowed to join their profession in the kingdom.

About 400 Saudi truck drivers gathered in the sports stadium last week to demand that their jobs be nationalised, local daily Saudi Gazette reported.

One of those gathered, Mohammad Al-Thahri, told the paper: “We demand to meet the officials of the Ministry of Labour and Social Development. We need a solution for our problem. We cannot get a job as truck drivers. All the jobs are taken by expatriates. We have a right to have the job market available to us.

“Most of us rely on this job to feed our families. We show up every day at the parking lot braving the scorching sun and wait for work. The expatriates lure away all the customers offering lesser charges. They are also mostly illegals,” he added.

He also urged the government to penalise those who hire expatriates to work as truck drivers.

Another driver, Mohammad Al-Rashidi, claimed there are over 300 expatriates working in the truck driving market at the moment.

“Since around five months ago, we noticed a surge of expatriates intruding into the market. They would contract customers on a regular basis and charge them a high price reaching up to SAR5,000. What these expatriates are doing is illegal and they must be penalised,” he told the paper.

“We need the municipality to interfere quickly and find solutions. We have no other way of making an income. We also have to pay installments for our vehicles,” he added.

Saudi Arabia has been aggressively pushing to nationalise its workforce to counter growing unemployment rates.

The country’s unemployment rate stood at 5.6 per cent in January 2015. However, youth unemployment is predicted to increase from 33.5 per cent last year to over 42 per cent in 2030, according to a new report by Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Read: Saudi reveals new measure to regulate foreign worker recruitment

Saudi’s new nationalisation scheme aims to create over one million jobs

In August, it was reported that Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Labour and Social Development is in the process of producing six projects to increase Saudisation in the labour market.

Read more: Saudi to introduce six projects to boost Saudisation

In October, it was also reported that expatriate staff aged over 60 years will account for two expat employees under the kingdom’s Saudisation (Nitaqat) programme.

The Nitaqat system is a scheme that penalises companies based on the percentage of its expatriate employees and was put in place to increase localisation and reduce unemployment in the kingdom.

Read: Expats over 60 in Saudi to account for two employees under Nitaqat scheme

Saudi to nationalise health, automobile sectors

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