Bin Ladin Group lays off 50,000 workers some yet to be paid

Fifty thousand foreign laborers have been fired by the Binladin Group construction company in Saudi Arabia. Some have not been paid salaries for the last four months.

In protests over the unpaid salaries, workers in Mecca set seven buses on fire. The workers were told to leave Saudi Arabia without their pay. The Saudi daily Okaz reported the bus fires were extinguished with no fatalities. It said the authorities launched an investigation into the incident. The paper did not mention the fire was part of a protest by the workers because they were not paid.
The company has a total of about 200,000 workers and is one of the Middle East's largest builders. The Al-Watan newspaper said Binladin had given the workers a permanent exit visa but many do not want to leave until they are paid. The workers are holding daily protests in front of the company offices in Mecca.
Saudi Binladin Group (SBG)] — with branches in Egypt, Lebanon, and the UK — was founded by Sheik Mohammed bin Laden Sayyid, who was the father of terrorist Osama bin Laden. He had over 50 children. Osama was removed as a shareholder in the business in 1993 and disowned by the family. The father had a close relationship with Saudi royalty, leading to many important contracts — including refurbishing mosques at Mecca and Medina. The declining price of oil has led to less construction projects for the company. The company is reported to have debts of up to $30 billion.The Saudi government had a budget deficit of nearly $100 billion last year. The company has not issued any statement on the protests or burning of the buses. The company has had a series of pay disputes with its workers this year. In March, many workers protested outside a company office demanding unpaid wages.
The company situation has been exacerbated by its being suspended from future contracts by the Saudi government: On 11 September 2015, while doing construction work in the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, one of the Group's cranes collapsed due to high winds causing 118 deaths and almost 400 injuries. As a result, the Saudi king suspended bin Laden’s family construction firm and banned the firm from taking new projects while having its current projects reviewed.
Preliminary investigation shows that the crane was not properly secured. BinLadin has yet to issue a public statement responding to their suspension.


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