JEDDAH – About 50,000 workers in Binladin Company, who were issued exit only visas, are sticking to their position of not leaving the country until they are paid their dues — entitlements and salary arrears for over four months, Al-Watan online reported Friday.
A source told Al-Watan that the workers are staging a sit-in almost daily. This is at a time when the company has given the workers the option of taking an urgent final exit visa or wait until their salary arrears are paid in full.
The termination of the contracts of 50,000 workers in Binladin Company and granting them final exit visas caused the ongoing current crisis between the company and the workers. The workers continued to stage sit-ins and gather in front of the company’s administrative office situated in Jeddah’s Al-Salama district.
A source in Binladin Company told Al-Watan that there are among the workers those who have not received their salaries for six months. This has caused them to take loans to tide over the months, pay their rents and their children’s school fees.
The source, requesting anonymity, disclosed that the company has made promises to pay the workers their salaries next week. He further said that the company’s termination of the services of 50,000 workers has led to their gathering in front of the company’s administrations in various cities of the Kingdom daily.
The workers are demanding payment of their entitlements before departing from the country. These arrears will cost the company over SR10 million amid the cessation of work in a big number of its projects located in different cities of the Kingdom.
The source said that the gathering of the workers has become a continuous and daily matter in a manner causing concern — first, among the workers who are still on the job, and second, among the workers whose sponsorships have been terminated.
The source disclosed that the sector for urgent projects in the company has terminated the services of 10,000 people from the group of workers who were working in the projects in Jeddah, Makkah and Madinah. Now only 6,000 workers are remaining.
The source said the company has given the workers the choice to be issued a final exit visa or wait until there is a breakthrough in the salary arrears crisis. He said that the problem lies in the payment of the entitlements of the workers who have been issued final exit visas.
An official source in the company said it is in the process of paying one month’s salary to 15,000 expatriate and Saudi workers and engineers. Several workers were not convinced by this measure and described it as a painkiller.
This comes at a time when a number of Binladin Company workers said that their number exceeds 25,000 expatriate and Saudi workers and they will stop working. They agreed among themselves not to report at the sites of projects.