The Great Hall
Leaving to Saudi Arabia to negociate a contract The Great Hall: Leaving to Saudi Arabia to negociate a contract
By Dpconsu (Dpconsu) on Saturday, May 20, 2000 - 09:20 am: Edit

I am leaving on the 26th May to Al Khobar in Saudi Arabia to negociate a consulting contract with a restaurant group there to assist them in establishing a franchise system etc.

Has anyone out there worked in Saudi before and can give me some insight into what pitfalls there maybe and how I should conduct these negociations?

Any input whould be helpfull.

By Mikeh (Mikeh) on Saturday, May 20, 2000 - 12:45 pm: Edit

I haven't had any personal dealings with anyone in Saudi Arabia, but from what I remember of the intercultural communications courses that I took in school years ago, it is one of the most foreign cultures compared to the western democracies. I would advise going to the library and looking for a book on their culture.

By CountryBaker on Saturday, May 20, 2000 - 01:01 pm: Edit

I live in a university town with an English language institute. We have a lot of students from Saudi Arabia, mainly older well off people. I have known some of them. Their culture is very different from ours. I second the need to read up on the people and their ways. You don't want to offend someone unintentionally.

By Kevin M on Monday, May 22, 2000 - 12:07 am: Edit

If you are married and are taking your wife -you better get her input. Not only is the culture different for foreigners but it is very punitive for women. Things that are taken for granted here are not allowed there - men and women swimming in the same pool, no unescorted women, no driving. My chef worked at the Hyatt in Ryad and told me that if the hotel hadn't flown him out every month -germany or france he wouldn't have lasted two weeks instead of the one year he did make it.

By Dpconsu (Dpconsu) on Monday, May 22, 2000 - 09:22 am: Edit

Thanks for your input, but what I need is to talk to people who have had business dealings in Saudi since the end of the gulf war. I have the latest state department report on Saudi Arabia and have read up on the country and it's peoples history, but that dosnt help me to conduct negociations for a contract. I have worked in other muslim countries but I have been told that the Saudi's are different. The regime is very strict, no other religions effects are permitted, no bibles, crosses, star of david, etc.

I am more concerned with things like, will the people that I deal with, honor a contract? will they pay the amount agreed to and on time?

By Panini (Panini) on Monday, May 22, 2000 - 03:46 pm: Edit

I'm sure that you will need a legal mediator, who will negotiate your deal for you. I'm sure you know where to go, they can be found privately or through the embassy. I think it's in your best interest, even if you have to take the hicky up front, it could protect you down the road.
Good luck

By CPS on Sunday, September 09, 2001 - 11:38 am: Edit

Have you already gone to Al Khobar?
I lived in Al Khobar just over 10 years (arrived 6 months before the Gulf War and left last year)and can tell you that of all the places you can go to in Saudi Arabia, Al Khobar is the most westernized. In order to answer to your concerns;
Who is the employer? Some are known for treating their employees well - others are not.
Will the employer honor the contract? Maybe.
Do you have recourse if they don't? Well, there are Saudi labour laws in effect and you could hire a Saudi lawyer to fight for what you believe is rightfully yours, but Saudi practices shaira law. As the "visitor" in their country, this is not in your favor. It is more likely that ultimately, the Saudi courts will "export" you and your problem - if it came down to this.
Also, most Saudi employers will (quite legally) hold an employees' passport while he is a resident(I'd fight that one though),and remember, embassies are not in foreign countries to help their citizens living abroad when they have problems with an employer!
Have I made it sound bleak? Hope not. With the right contract, housing (thats a BIG issue if you are taking your family), perks and benefits, you can have a wonderful lifestyle there.
I don't think a legal mediator is going to amount to any protection down the road - essentially, you have no rights in "their" country. And you certainly have none once you're out.
If I were in your shoes, I'd negotiate for specific housing, (these are the compounds you should ask for in order - Al Bustan, Stemco, Oasis), school fees, 2 fully paid trips out annually for you and your family - or if you have older kids at boarding school, college, then one paid trip for them to fly into Saudi, car or interest-free loan for one. These are a few basics in a "good" contract. Expect the employer to negaotaite hard -he will make you feel that what you are asking for is incredulous - this negotiating style is meant to deminish your expectations and make you think you are worth far less than you are. Do expect to have to negotiate though - if you want a specific salary, ask for double, then settle for what you wanted in the first place.
Hope this was some help. Good luck.

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