JEDDAH — Amid all the gloom for workers stranded in labor camps without pay for months, there have been some rays of hope. A Saudi company, after learning of their plight, has come forward to accept 1,000 workers on transfer, announced Indian Consul General Mohammed Noor Rahman Sheikh here on Monday, reported Saudi Gazette.
Two other Saudi employers have expressed interest in employing some of these workers, he said, adding, “This shows that there is no dearth of Saudi philanthropists.”
Sheikh has put the Consulate General’s machinery on work to identify and document the affected Indian workers at the Saudi Oger Company camps in order to provide them relief.
About 2,500 workers, who had not been paid their salaries for months, had been put in a spot by the sudden closure of the mess facilities a week back. The mission, with the help of community members, has addressed this issue and has built up a food bank for the next 10 days.
Sheikh was optimistic that the mission’s concerted efforts and the arrival of the External Affair Ministry’s representative on Tuesday would bear fruits soon.
“Our Minister of State for External Affairs Gen. V.K. Singh is arriving tomorrow to take stock of the issue and will be meeting Saudi labor and foreign affairs authorities. He will also visit some of the labor camps to personally assess the situation,” Sheikh said.
“In addition, I’ll be meeting high-level labor authorities tomorrow to chart a way forward,” he said, adding that all these efforts are being well-received by the Saudi authorities, whose response has been positive.
“We hope to resolve the issue in these days,” said Skeikh, while addressing the press.
“If not, the community is primed and are ready to continue assisting their brethren till the issue is resolved. The consulate staff has been working around the clock to list all workers and their preferences. Some want immediate exit, some want to leave with their benefits, while some would prefer to stay on by taking a transfer to another company,” Sheikh said.
Sheikh said that the issue of non-payment of salaries by companies and welfare of Indian workers has been put on top priority, especially with these two companies problems coming to the fore.
“Apart from this company (Saudi Oger) and the problems in Binladin Group, we are now focusing on all companies that are delaying or not paying salaries to their workers, and we will be taking the issue to the Ministry of Labor and Social Development to set things right,” Sheikh said.