Unpaid expatriates go on strike in KSA

Staff Correspondent

Some 850 expatriate workers including Bangladeshis, Indians, Pakistanis and Nepalis have been on strike in Yanbu, a major Red Sea port in the Al Madinah province of western Saudi Arabia, for a week over nonpayment of salaries by their employer, a Turkish construction company.
Of the workers 700 are from India and Pakistan and 150 from Bangladesh, Nepal and Turkey.
The workers claimed they have not been paid for five months, according to a report published on Sunday in Arab News, a Jeddah-based English newspaper.
The Turkish company won contracts for housing projects from the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu and has been working in the region for three years. The workers claimed the company has not responded to their pleas for payment.
Many workers told Arab News that their families back home were suffering and had to borrow money for Ramadan and Eid. ‘We are now in the same situation ahead of the coming Eid Al-Adha. We don’t have money even to recharge our prepaid SIM cards to make calls,’ said one worker.
The workers said they also faced several problems at their accommodation in Yanbu, including having their water supply cut off because they could not pay their bills.
They have lodged complaints with the Saudi ministry of labour and the governor’s office. The authorities have called the workers, contractor and clients to a meeting next week to resolve the issue, said the workers.
They said the company claimed it could not pay them because it did not receive money from its client. However, the client has not paid because it claimed the housing projects were behind schedule.
According to Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training, over 26 lakh Bangladeshi workers have so far gone to the Kingdom with employment since 1976.

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