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Riyadh skyline, Saudi Arabia. Image Credit: Bloomberg

Cairo: Some 2,302 cases were filed to labour tribunals in Saudi Arabia in the first four days of 2024, a media report said.

Riyadh has taken the lion’s share with 741 cases followed by Mecca with 559, the Eastern Province and Medina with 164 with 307 while the lowest numbers were in the Northern Borders and Al Baha with 16 and eight cases respectively, Saudi news portal Akhbar24 said, citing figures from the Ministry of Justice.

No thematic breakdown of these cases was given. Saudi Arabia is home to a large community of migrant workers.

Last February, the kingdom’s Ministry of Human Resources said around 73 per cent of employment-related disputes in Saudi Arabia were settled out of court in 2022.

An amicable settlement system, dubbed “Wedi” has also helped shorten the duration of handling a dispute lawsuit from 40 days to five working days.

A mechanism has been introduced seeking to reach friendly settlements to disputes, which may break out between the employee and the employer, out of keenness on ensuring stable relationship between the contractual parties and work settings, the ministry said.

Efforts to reach an amicable settlement marks the first phase in handling suits on labour disputes during which mediation endeavours are made to bring views of the parties involved closer in a bid to reach a compromise acceptable to both sides.

If not, the suit is referred to a labour court within the 21 days of the first settlement session.

In 2018, new labour courts were introduced in Saudi Arabia to ensure fast-track litigation and delivery of justice as part of massive reforms in the country.

Their jurisdiction includes ruling on disputes related to employment contracts, wages, labour rights, injuries, compensation and social insurance claims.