For Sunday September 1st 2013
Between Us Only!
Expatriate Casual Workers!
I was reading this news headline (Muscat Daily August 29th 2013) titled ‘Municipality faces shortfall of workers’ – ‘Many decide to leave because of new contract system’! It seemed that many of the workers are now going to get reduced salaries and without allowances – and those who used to get up to OMR 260 per month – depending on their grades – are now going to get average of 150 per month!
Frankly and honestly speaking, sometimes the mind just boggles who actually makes such decisions that subsequently leads to such results and consequences – and whether the decisions were well thought and considered before thoroughly prior to make such random and hasty decisions?
In an article I had written on the same subject – over 10 years ago – I had said – These jobs (Municipality Cleaners) would be the last jobs to be Omanised – and even far after the last Expatriate CEO and Manager have left the country! These casual jobs have better future prospects than even the Management ones of their peers.
I went on – At 3 a.m. they are still cleaning the streets – whilst the rest of us all are snoring deeply in our beds!
Some years back – I was travelling one night at 4 am to pick a visitor at Muscat Airport – and I nearly witnessed a ‘nasty road accident’ – when one of the Cleaners had moved towards half of the road to pick up a tissue left on the road – and the poor man was nearly run over by a speeding car – even at this late hour in the empty road. I do not know what the rush was in for?
There are no takers for these jobs.
I am frankly convinced that our youth would prefer to live ‘on social welfare’ – as a worst case scenario – then go and do these jobs!
A long time ago some people had come to deliver a washing machine to my villa in Qorum. This is what I had written in my article – quote – The Angry Driver – He (the young Omani youngster) nearly ran over me as he was reversing the truck fast as I was guiding him through the gate. I asked him what gives? Or should I call the Police? He broke down saying that this job (truck driver) was the only job he could get!
So I asked him – Forgive me Son! What qualifications do you have? He said he did not even finish his final secondary school! Madam wife was annoyed why I was getting involved – when I told him bluntly that he should thank his ‘lucky stars’ that he got a job!
The Omani young boy turned to his Indian peers saying in their lingo – These rich people look down on us – because we are poor! Yes I live in Qorum – thanks to my Oil Company – but I am certainly not rich!
I could not hold back my laughter – because he did not know that I studied in Tanzania in Indian Schools from Class 1 Primary to High School! At young age I could even write my name – and my father’s – in Hindi – and embarrassing the boy even further!
At another occasion in another place there was an elder Omani with some Indian workers. When he saw me ‘he was guiding the other workers’ – and I had thought that he was the ‘foreman’ – but he had elected himself for the position. The real foreman (Indian) soon put ‘the show off’ man ‘right back to his position’!
When I studied in UK I stayed in a house belonging to a Pakistani. He came to UK and though had some certificates ended as a bus driver! He had saved enough to be able to get himself a house in the end!
Even if after a shift – if there was no other driver in the other shifts – or not turning up – as in many cases – especially in weekends and immediately afterwards – he would volunteer – and he used to get double rate for going extra shift! His local peers had all their monies go into bars and girl friends!
We should also remember – in conclusion – that the basic salaries for Omani Youth had gone up. This is a wrong time to reduce their salaries (expatriates) human beings as they are in ‘comparing and contrasting’!
As a Human Resources Professional of over 35 years – and Management Consultant, Expert and Advisor for over 12 years – I think a review is in order – under all the aforementioned – and with due and sincere apologies!
By: Majid Al-Suleimany