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Private schools plan lawsuit in row over salary
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 13 - 02 - 2013


Fatima Muhammad
Saudi Gazette
JEDDAH — The Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry's committee of private schools for girls said on Tuesday it will take the Ministry of Education to the Court of Grievances if it does not open negotiations over its decision to force schools to pay teachers a minimum salary of SR5,000 or face severe penalties.
The ministry asked the schools through official letters at the end of the first semester to implement the decision to pay teachers a basic monthly salary of SR5,000 plus a transport allowance of SR600.
The ministry asked the schools to halt registration or transfer of students until they implemented the directive. It told them that if the decision was not implemented within two weeks, the owner of each offending school would be fined SR5,000 per female teacher.
If the directive was not executed within a month, the ministry would ask the Ministry of Labor to stop providing key services to the school, and if the decision was not implemented before the end of the year, the school would be closed down.
Committee chairman Mohammed Yusuf said on Tuesday: “For more than two months we have been trying to negotiate with the Department of Girls' Education in Jeddah without any success.”
He said the department was adamant in its refusal to talk to them and is only passing over to them the written decisions and circulations coming from the ministry.
“If the ministry continues this position we will go to the Court of Grievances. We are keen to implement decisions and royal decrees while the ministry persists on doing what it deems is right without looking at the other party.”
Yusuf described the decisions imposed by the ministry as “unfair”. “Instead of being our supporter, the ministry has opted to be our enemy.”
He accused officials in the department of education of working for the interests of the Human Resources Development Fund (HADAF) and the General Organization for Social Insurance (GOSI). “The department is chasing the salaries of the teachers with HADAF and GOSI. Their main concern now is to threaten schools with fines and final closure.”
According to the decision, HADAF will pay 50 percent of salaries for two years before schools have to depend on their own resources.
Yusuf said most private schools are unqualified to obtain safety certificates from the Civil Defense and subsequently are unable to renew their operation licenses.
“The Civil Defense will not grant safety certificates to schools working in rented buildings. Most of the schools were established about 40 years ago and started working from rented buildings. How can they ask us now to obtain our own buildings in order to obtain the licenses?”


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