6,000 Mashaer staff not paid for 6 months

Authorities downplay salary crisis


Saudi Gazette report

— The Makkah Development Authority has vowed to end the problem of salary delay faced by more than 6,000 employees of Mashaer Railway within a few days.

The new promise comes after employees protested against the six-month-delay in the payment of their salaries.

The authority downplayed the issue, saying it was caused by a problem between the company that operates the railway and the General Authority of Zakat & Tax. "We are about to overcome this crisis," the authority said in a statement carried by Al-Hayat Arabic daily.

Meanwhile, the launch of Haramain Railway that links Makkah and Madinah via Jeddah has been delayed further. It was supposed to be launched in the beginning of this year.

The delay in the payment of salaries to seasonal workers during the Haj season has become an annual problem without a solution.

More than 6,000 employees of Mashaer Railway have expressed their indignation over the continuous delay in the salary payment.

The Malaysian company, which has been contracted by the Makkah Development Authority, to operate Mashaer Railway during the Haj season, has received several messages of protest from its employees due to the recurrent delay in payment of their salaries.

The employees have expressed their displeasure through a Twitter hashtag and said they were facing lots of problems due to nonpayment of salaries for six months. They have not received their salaries since the end of the last Haj season.

"The company has not fulfilled its promise. We have been working for the company under the scorching sun," the employees said on Twitter.

They have urged Makkah Emir Prince Khaled Al-Faisal and his deputy Prince Abdullah Bin Bandar to intervene to end their suffering.

Jalal Kaaki, spokesman of the Makkah Development Authority, said all salary dues would be cleared within a few days.

The Malaysian company had informed its employees that their salaries would be deposited in their bank accounts by the end of February. But the employees said did not receive their salaries yet.

The company, which is entrusted with the task of crowd control at Mashaer train stations, said the salary would be paid in the first week of March. The issue of salary delay is repeated every year since the launch of Mashaer Railway.

Makkah Emir Prince Khaled Al-Faisal had intervened to solve the salary delay in 2016 but the problem continued in subsequent years putting pressure on the authorities.