Friday, August 26, 2005

Saudi call centers close :: KT

Quote, emphasis added:
JEDDAH—Continuing closures of call centres across Saudi Arabia after Saudi Telecom sharply lowered the price of international telephone calls was endangering the livelihood of over 16,000 employees who work at 4,000 call centres spread all over Kingdom, according to a report in the Arabic daily Asharq Al-Awsat.

The price reductions initiated by Saudi Telecom have drastically affected the income of call centres around the Kingdom and turned many into loss-making businesses to the extent that many are laying off staff or closing down the business.

Sadeq Al-Abdaly an agent for investors in the sector, has made an appeal to Saudi Labour Minister Dr. Ghazi Al-Gossaibi, asking the government, to save the sector from ruin and its employees from unemployment. He warned that If Saudi Telecom does not change its policies, we will find ourselves obliged to take it to court to save our jobs and income.

Al-Abdaly said: "I rely on call centres as my only source of income. I have been working in this field now for four years and have 25 young Saudi men working for me, given that this line of work does not require specific qualifications.

Saudi Telecom continues to neglect this sector deliberately despite receiving 80 per cent of the revenue from each centre, Yahia Al-Jhfaly, head of a company that owns a number of centres in the eastern region was quoted as saying the by the daily last week. He warned that STC needed to reconsider investors profit margins as they pay the rent and the workers salaries but only receive 20 per cent of the income.

He explained that in Saudi Arabia, only young people worked in call centres. If the neglect of the sector continued, these employees were likely to lose their jobs. Unemployment would increase and many would lose their only source of income.
16,000 workers in 4,000 centers is an average of 4 workers per center. These are small centers. The Arab News story refers to them as "call cabins." Call cabins are shops where you can go and make a local or international phone call. Here's another Arab News story where they are mentioned, giving an idea of the kind services provided.

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