RYAD – Thousands of foreign workers in Saudi Arabia, most of them Asian, are in financial dire straits as large Saudi corporations are in arrears with their salaries, a crisis due to the freeze on many construction projects after the oil prices collapse.
One example would be the “Saudi Ogeh” company, whose employees have resorted in the past weeks to protest in front of the company’s HQ in Jeddah and provoked fires in their sleeping barracks and staff shuttle buses.
A Filipino worker, who identified himself as “Edward,” told EFE that “Saudi Ogeh” hadn’t paid them any wages for nine months and they had filed complaints both at the Saudi Ministry of Work and the Philippines’ embassy in Ryad.
“The embassy is trying to help us, but we ask our government and president to intervene as some of us have children and we need to pay their schooling and our debts back home,” he added with anxiety.
Due to the financial crisis “Saudi Ogeh” is immersed in, they cannot even process the documents required by workers enabling them to seek another job or return to their home countries, as they need the “authorization” of their employer to leave Saudi Arabia.
The Saudi Ministry of Work has tried to intermediate between the company and its workers, by offering them money, renewing their work visas or granting a travel visa to leave Saudi Arabia.