When Yemeni employees suffer [Archives:2003/652/Opinion]

July 21 2003

AbdulWahab AbdulQawi Al Sofi
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Yemeni employees who work in the private sectors are quite persecuted. They are suffering from their managers. Their rights are plundered. Their voices are thrown in the limbo. Abusive instructions on them are applied. Managers enjoy the suffering of their own employees. They make employee reluctant to do their work properly. They give you a fake smile in which you can read many meanings of duplicity and deceptions. Instead of private sectors render thanks to God that they get labors working with simple salaries, they kill youth ambition and potential energy. They exploit the necessary needs of youth and the bad economical status for many families. Yet, they are obliged to continue. The difficulties of life impose the slavery on them. The final arbiter drives them to this bad position. Employees have no alternative but to accept this opportunism and tyranny. They are in between hammer of private sector and the anvil of bad livelihood. This is because no one can support them. The laws are completely against them. We try to make a union demanding only simple rights but are strictly repressed. In general, people who work in the private sector need help. For instance, the labor affairs office in Hodeidah is helpless. Instead of supporting employees to improve their salaries, the office conspires with the companies to extinguish our fire and eagerness for change. Hence, we are burnt internally. In Hodeidah, shipping companies have independent laws against Yemeni employees. Employees collect thousands of dollars to them against only YR 10,000 salary. He must calculate accurately. He must not forget even by mistake one single dollar; otherwise the entire amount will be certainly debited on him. Yet, Yemeni employees have no authority to negotiate their salaries. It is prohibited to discuss any comparison between Yemeni employees' salaries and those of foreigner 'experts' working with huge salaries in the same company. Even though it is cruelly illegal for Yemeni employers to throw out their local employees in their company, yet it happens all the time. According to recent statistics, fifty percent of local employees became either crazy due to liability of heavy debts, or catch dangerous diseases such as diabetes, blood pressure and heart diseases. This human disaster is happening repeatedly without our knowledge. We have many well-qualified employees who don't get a job. If we give them an opportunity and confidence, they will be replacing foreign employees. It is a pity that foreign employees are usually nominated to be our bosses as if they were the only citizens, while we are not! I have a specific question, for which I have been looking for an answer since 1995. When will our government establish a clear policy to replace foreigner employees by local employees? Will it ever happen?