Workers go 5 months without pay

The affected Indian and Nepalese workers.

The affected Indian and Nepalese workers.

Fifty-four Asian workers — 34 Indians and 20 Nepalese — have lodged a complaint with the Jubail labor office against their sponsor, Khaled Fahad Shaddy Est., an Abqaiq-based manpower company, for not paying them their salaries and detaining them in the country against their will.

According to the workers, while their sponsor was taking them back to Abqaiq from Jubail after having completed a project there, 47 of them stayed back, and with the assistance of their embassies’ help desks in Jubail, filed a complaint with the Jubail labor office stating that they had not been paid their salaries for five months and that they wanted to go home on a final exit. They said that they had completed two or three years working for the same company but were not allowed to go back to their country.

In the meantime, the other workers were deputed to another construction project in Jubail.

Saifudheen Pottassery, an Indian national, said that when they first filed their case in Jubail, they were advised to make their complaint in Abqaiq as their sponsor is based there.

“We explained to the office how difficult it is for poor workers to attend to a case being heard in Abqaiq while staying in Jubail,” he said, adding that the labor officer was understanding and agreed to register their case in Jubail.

The workers said that they were visited by embassy volunteers in their labor camps and that they told them of their plight. Some of the workers’ passports and iqamas had expired but the sponsor had not bothered to renew them, they complained.

“The sponsor appeared at the Jubail labor office on Nov. 10 and Nov. 16 and asked for a settlement under which each worker will get two months’ salary and an exit visa. They agreed to the sponsor’s demand in an attempt to solve the issue and exit the country, but the sponsor did not come back and they are still waiting,” Pottassery said.

The workers told Arab News, that they had recently been asked to evacuate the labor camp and were now staying in Jubail at their own expense.

They have appealed to the Indian and Nepalese missions to follow up on their case and expedite the process in the Jubail labor office.

 
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