Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 16 September 2019

Saudi Binladin to lay off another 14,000 staff, bringing total departures to 69,000

Spokesman said that final payments to the next batch of departing employees will be made 'late May, early June'.
Migrant workers, who work for Saudi Binladin Group, look for their names as they ask for a final settlement over salary issue, in Riyadh on March 29, 2016. Reuters
Migrant workers, who work for Saudi Binladin Group, look for their names as they ask for a final settlement over salary issue, in Riyadh on March 29, 2016. Reuters

Saudi Binladin Group has confirmed that it is working on processing final payments for about 14,000 workers that will allow them to leave the company within the next month, following on from the recent departure of about 55,000 staff.

The company, which had employed more than 200,000 staff before its recent troubles, had previously terminated the contracts of more than 35,000 employees, who “were repatriated to their home countries upon receipt of their full due payments”, a spokesman for the contractor’s parent firm, Binladin Holding Company (BHC), told The National.

Alongside this, about 20,000 workers had resigned from the firm and had their work permits transferred to other employers.

“The group is currently working on ending the services of the remaining batches, estimated at around 14,000 employees, and processing their due payments,” the spokesman said. “This entire programme is expected to complete by the end of May, early June 2016.”

The spokesman also said that it had completed payments to about 10,000 staff who had been owed wages following a recent intervention from the kingdom’s ministry of labour. It said it would pay overdue wages to remaining employees “as the required cashflows from our clients” filter through to it.

Saudi Binladin is the kingdom’s biggest contractor and had been entrusted with its most prestigious work for decades, including the upgrade of the Grand Mosque in Mecca. However, it was banned from bidding for new work after a crane collapsed at the site last September, killing at least 109 pilgrims.

The company also suffered ­after the government halted payments to contractors and delayed the launch of new tenders as it assessed its position ahead of the recently announced Vision 2030 National Transformation Plan. Many of the company’s workers had complained that they had not been paid for months, and following initial layoffs several company buses were set on fire in Mecca this month. BHC’s spokesman blamed “delays by clients in settling approved entitlements and payments” for delays in payments to workers.

“There are various efforts being undertaken to address this issue and we remain hopeful [these will] be resolved soon,” the spokesman said.

Many construction com­panies working for Saudi government clients had also reported issues with delayed payments, but the situation appears to have eased in recent weeks.

Last month, the chief executive of the Dammam-based contractor Al Khodari said the government had started to release payments, “mainly at the end of the first quarter”.

mfahy@thenational.ae

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Updated: May 12, 2016 04:00 AM

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