'Saudi Binladin Group crisis will be resolved'
Saudi Binladin workers will get their salaries this month and some later, according to Labour Minister Mufrej al-Haqbani
The crisis surrounding Saudi Binladin Group, which has been struggling to pay its workers, will be resolved, Labour Minister Mufrej al-Haqbani revealed.
Speaking at a business conference in Riyadh, Haqbani said some Binladin workers will get their salaries this month and some later.
However, he did not stipulate how Binladin would obtain the money to pay its staff.
Haqbani, said: "Some workers will receive this month, some others will receive another month. God willing, it will be resolved."
Binladin has been under pressure since last September, when it was suspending from receiving new state contracts after a crane toppled into Mecca's Grand Mosque, killing 107 people.
In addition, the company has been hit by fallout from low oil prices which have led to government spending cuts to curb a budget deficit that totalled almost $100bn last year.
Some saudi construction companies have claimed the government has delayed payemnts to them for work already done, making it difficult for them to pay employees.
When asked if the government owes Binladin money, Haqbani, said: "For me, any contract between an employer and an employee is non-conditional.
"It is a contract between a company and an employee that the employee will work and receive his salary. No conditions."
This news follows claims that Binladin had laid off around 77,000 foreign workers and planned to cut thousands of jobs held by Saudi nationals.
Binladin said workers being laid off would receive proper compensation, but did not confirm wages.
Yesterday, in an emailed statement to ConstructionWeekOnline, Yaseen Alattas, chief communications officer at Binladin Holding Co, said: "We do understand that manpower reductions are never easy for all involved.
"However, the Group is honouring its commitments and the affected employees have already received their full compensations and any other entitlements in accordance with the applicable laws.
"We will honour the same commitment in case further manpower is released.”
Haqbani added that a wage protection system safeguarded employees' salaries and that foreign workers would receive their salaries if they left the country.