Saudis take to Twitter to demand better pay

Oct 08 2013, 00:00 IST
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SummaryThe campaigners called on King Abdullah to order “by decree, an increase in the salaries of all civil servants” of the world’s top oil exporter.

Despite their country boasting the world’s greatest oil wealth, many Saudis complain their salaries are not enough to make ends meet, and are taking to Twitter to demand more money.

“The salary is not enough”, a hashtag launched in early summer on the micro-blogging website, triggered more than 17.5 million tweets, reflecting the frustration of many Saudis over their purchasing power.

The campaigners called on King Abdullah to order “by decree, an increase in the salaries of all civil servants” of the world’s top oil exporter.

The basic monthly salary of a public employee ranges between 3,945 riyals ($1,051) and 24,750 riyals ($6,599), in addition to various allowances, according to a study prepared by insurance companies.

“Let officials stop stealing... corruption has taken everything and people are the victims,” tweeted journalist Fahd al-Fahid.

Others posted images they said reflected the misery in the kingdom — a woman rummaging through rubbish, families living in dilapidated houses and students crammed into old trucks.

“Inflation and continually rising prices over several years have seriously affected the purchasing power of people,” economist Abdullah al-Almi said. The result, he said, was “a shrinking middle class”.

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