09 June 2016
JEDDAH: For the second time in just a few months, 150 expatriate workers of a major contracting company gathered in front of their employer's office in Jeddah to protest against the delay in their salaries and set fire to a number of company vehicles.
The workers of Saudi Oger company burned a number of buses and heavy vehicles belonging to the company in front of the firm's branch office in Jeddah on Monday. The police prevented the crowd from indulging in further violence and Civil Defense teams extinguished the fires. The workers later dispersed.
"Some 150 expatriate workers gathered in front of Saudi Oger's branch office in Jeddah at 9 p.m. on Monday. The workers set fire to the company's vehicles. They were protesting against nonpayment of salaries for six months," Jeddah police spokesman Atti Al-Qurashi said.
Lately, construction workers have found a new way to express their anger over delayed salaries.
Several company buses of the Saudi Binladin Group were previously burned in Makkah.
Gulf-based construction firms have been among the hardest-hit by lower oil prices. Several construction companies suffer from a low number of projects and high costs of their workers' salaries. Consequently, many construction companies have not been able to pay their workers salaries.
Meanwhile, the Labor and Social Affairs Ministry has transferred workers' complaints to a special court.
Ahmed Al-Ghamdi, director of the media center at the ministry's branch in Makkah region, said the Labor Office has stopped all services to these companies as result of a violation of the Wage Protection System.
In March 2016, the Labor Ministry took several measures to resolve the issue of some workers' complaints of delayed salaries. The ministry previously confirmed that it stopped providing its services, including social security and passport affairs, to Saudi Oger Ltd. as part of its punitive steps. The ministry had also formed a committee to address the issues raised by Saudi Oger employees. The Riyadh governorate was expected to coordinate with the committee to resolve the matter.
© Arab News 2016