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Oil price drives Saudi BinLadin to cut 15,000 jobs

Sources claim Saudi BinLadin Group will move a part of the 15,000 laid-off employees to temporarily work on its airport project in Jeddah

Saudi BinLadin Group is going to cut 15,000 jobs. [Representational image]
Saudi BinLadin Group is going to cut 15,000 jobs. [Representational image]

Contracting giant Saudi BinLadin Group is set to cut 15,000 jobs, it has been revealed.

Saudi BinLadin, which is 200,000-strong, has worked on notable projects in the Kingdom, and was recently embroiled in controversy when its crane crashed at Mecca's Grand Mosque. 

The lay-offs come at a time when Saudi Arabia's economy is grappling with the impact of reduced petrodollars

A source who chose to remain anonymous told Reuters: "The Saudi construction sector is definitely soft.

"There's general uncertainty and it's very difficult to plan where to focus on," the source continued, highlighting market uncertainty regarding the future of planned projects. 

Some of the total 15,000 cutbacks will be immediate, while some workers will be moved to "temporarily" work on Binladin's ongoing airport project in Jeddah. 

There is no mention of which administration level these lay-offs will be effected at.  

Saudi's contracting market is also under pressure due to $640 (SAR2,400) levy it has to pay for each additional foreign worker it hires over the Kingdom's nationals. 

Contractor Al Khodari filed claims worth $18m (SAR66m) as claims against the fines it has been charged for its expat labour force. 

Meanwhile, Saudi BinLadin has been suspended from tendering for new contracts following the crane crash at Mecca. 

A government probe initially found Binladin had not "properly secured" the crane, according to Reuters' report. 

Saudi's government is also likely to announce austerity measures in response to dwindling oil prices when it releases its budget for 2016 next month. 

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Construction Week - Issue 747
Aug 03, 2019