Labourers in Saudi return to work after dispute

Workers told issues would be resolved with contractor; fate of striking labourers not clear

Picture for illustrative purposes only.
Picture for illustrative purposes only.

Around 150 expat labourers in Saudi Arabia’s south western city of Abha have returned to work after staging a strike at a private contracting company.

While the precise nature of their dispute was unclear, a report carried by Arab News said the workers had taken issue over the way several complaints had been handled. The company wasn’t named.

Director of the Asir branch of the Labour Ministry Hussein Al-Murri said his officials visited the site on Monday and had sent the labourers back to work with assurances that matters would be settled.

Several complaints had been made against supervisors – and these would be investigated.

MORE STRIKE STORIES HERE

Strike action is illegal in many Gulf states, and sometimes leads to the deportation of those who’ve taken action against their employers. As such, strike action is often seen as a last resort by workers. Often, however, mediation with authorities between company managers and workers tends to resolve issues.

Strike action in the GCC may be illegal,  but it is not uncommon. Last year more than 100 migrant labour workers who went on strike in Qatar over low pay were deported. Last week, a week-long sit-in protest at a hospital in Kuwait has ended after workers were paid three months’ worth of overdue salaries. Hundreds of construction workers building a new public hospital in South Surra reportedly stopped work, accusing their employer of not paying wages for three months.

Earlier this month a group of workers from Vietnam had been forced to return home their Saudi employer failed to pay them, which also led to strike action. The Saudi Arabian company ran in to financial difficulties meaning they could not pay them.

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