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Cairo: Some 31,655 labour lawsuits, an average of 363 cases per day, have been filed to courts in Saudi Arabia in the first quarter of the year, according to reported official figures.

Riyadh took the lion’s share among Saudi regions in terms of the cases with 10,000 suits, followed by Mecca with 7,700, the Eastern Province with 4,590 and Asir in the south-west with 1,924, Saudi news website Akhbar24 reported, citing figures from the Ministry of Justice.

The lowest numbers of cases were registered in the Northern Borders and Al Baha in south-western Saudi Arabia with 266 and 198 respectively.

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

A mechanism has been introduced aimed to reach friendly settlements to disputes that may break out between the employee and the employer in Saudi Arabia, out of keenness on ensuring stable relationship between the contractual parties and work settings.

Efforts to reach an amicable settlement mark 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.