Saudi Arabia has taken the first step to allowing trade unions in the kingdom, authorizing the creation of "labor committees" in businesses employing more than 100 people, the SPA news agency reported Tuesday, April 3.
The Saudi cabinet approved Monday the creation of labor committees of between three and nine employees "to make recommendations to the management of businesses on work issues and ways of improving them," SPA said.
A regional collective of taxi drivers has existed for several years in the west of the conservative Muslim kingdom, and professional associations grouping computer experts, economist and engineers also exist.
But local analysts said labor committees were the first real step towards the establishment of trade unions to defend workers' rights.
No further details were given on what further steps the government would take nor on the status of the expatriate employees who make up the majority of the workforce in the oil-rich Gulf kingdom. — (AFP, Riyadh)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)