Fresh trou­ble over lay-offs

Saudi firm fac­ing worker back­lash

7 Days in Dubai - - GLOBAL NEWS -

Em­ploy­ees at the Saudi Bin­ladin Group, a con­struc­tion gi­ant, set fire to more than seven com­pany buses in the lat­est protest by dis­grun­tled staff over not be­ing paid salaries for months and a large round of re­ported lay-offs.

Ma­jor Nayef Al Sharif, the spokesman for the Civil De­fence in the city of Mecca, said late on Satur­day that fire­fight­ers put out the blaze with­out any in­juries re­ported.

The Bin­ladin Group has not is­sued any state­ments about the re­ported lay-offs or the un­rest. Calls and an email re­quest for comment to the com­pany were not im­me­di­ately re­turned.

For sev­eral weeks, thou­sands of the firm’s em­ploy­ees have been stag­ing rare protests in Mecca and the Red Sea coastal city of Jed­dah, with some say­ing they have not been paid for six months.

The at­tack on the com­pany’s buses comes a day af­ter the Saudi Al Watan news­pa­per quoted an un­named source as say­ing the com­pany has ter­mi­nated em­ploy­ment for 50,000 for­eign work­ers and is­sued them with exit visas. Many of those work­ers are ap­par­ently re­fus­ing to leave with­out be­ing paid their late wages, the news­pa­per re­ported.

The Saudi Bin­ladin Group is one of the world’s largest con­struc­tion firms. Founded in 1931, the firm has been be­hind some of Saudi Ara­bia’s most im­por­tant pro­jects.

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