Tuesday, June 06, 2006

It is Not Enough!

Do you think this man, Nurul Islam, is still working here in The Kingdom? Having the nerve to find fault with the salary one receives probably isn’t the most politically correct move Mr. Islam could make in efforts to advance further up the ladder rungs at his place of employment. On the “bright side,” there probably isn’t another ladder rung below the one he’s currently standing on. Nope, he doesn't have to worry about falling off that ladder!

The salaries of some of The Kingdom’s workers really need to be looked at by the authorities, and it appears as though they will be. But like so, so many things here, any change will take time. I wouldn’t count on this Committee of Labor Overseers making any decision to adopt a “minimum wage” this week, next week, or the week after that.

One of my neighbors in Bahrain, Tooners, had a recent column on being a Bragger, and umm, gee, I hate to “brag” [although I hardly consider what I’m about to say bragging! let this one slide, will ya’ please, Tooners?], but what these poor guys are making for monthly salaries is what I spend on groceries for two or three days. In terms of U.S. Dollars, 300 Riyals a month is approximately $80.50. If you are fortunate enough to be making the big bucks – or in this case, the big Riyals - 400 a month is about $107.25. And, yes, certainly both my husband and I could afford to decrease the amount of calories we consume, and I could spend quite a bit less. Just food for thought. Ha! Now, there’s a diet idea I’ve not given any consideration…

Not to make light of the situation, these guys do work very hard, long days, in conditions that no Westerner – or Saudi, for that matter – that I know would even, or ever, consider working under. It is hot here in the summer. Very, very hot. There is little shade. These men are working outside, in the sun, for a minimum of eight hours and for some ten or twelve hours, typically six days a week, in full [long-sleeved, pant legged] cover-alls. The proposed minimum of 750 Riyals a month [$201.00] would be a much-deserved, long overdue, increase.


  1. Without a doubt the salaries of the TCN population needs to be raised as well as a thorough review of their working conditions. Sadly I doubt much will be done. At least not much past the common broken promises that something will be done and then of course nothing or very little actually happens. Life is cheap in the Gulf. Sad but true.

  2. Go! Go! Go! B.T.!!!!!

  3. Sabra,

    Just as a curiosity, do you have any idea what the average income is yearly for a Saudi national family?

    Just curious.

  4. Here in Bahrain these ppl aren't making much. Bahrainis, depending on where they work, can make decent money. Govt work doesn't pay much for Bahrainis but even less for the expats doing the manual labor.

    They've talked about creating a minimum wage here.. don't know if it'll happen and IF it'll apply to these workers. Time will tell, but I doubt it.

  5. Sabra,

    Where can I send you an email?


    (Formerly Known as Ruminator)

  6. "Just as a curiosity, do you have any idea what the average income is yearly for a Saudi national family?"

    "Average" (mean) per capita income was roughly $12,000 US in 2005.  It's probably gone up since the price of oil doubled (figure it's about $8,000 in Iran, and $3,500 in Iraq, just for comparison).  Median incomes are almost impossible to figure. The Magic Kingdom doesn't want, publish, nor probably even collect, such data.

  7. Angie - No idea what a Saudi family makes. Know only general idea of salaries for ex-pats. Trust me, we don't come here for our health! See Lee's answer. He, apparently, has a better idea than I do about this. However,

    Lee, you are right, that that type of information is not something "they" want to make public knowledge here. They did, fairly recently, raise the "welfare" rates. Even the welfare rates are a heck of a lot more than the imported labor is making, and

    Rumi I can be e-mailed at: Sabrasstilettos@Yahoo.com


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