A bizarre search for charity to feed unpaid workers

A bizarre search for charity to feed unpaid workers

Saeed Al-Suraihi

By Saeed Al-Suraihi

The Labor Office in Al-Baha is investigating a company executing government projects in the province for delaying the salaries of 40 foreign workers for more than 10 months.

Irrespective of what the investigation says about the company or the sufferings of these workers, what happened in Al-Baha is nothing new or unique. Workers had suffered in the past and companies had delayed the salaries of workers before this company in Al-Baha and elsewhere.

If what happened in Al-Baha is an extension of the previous incidents then what will happen next will also be an extension of a long series enacted by the companies where the victims are invariably the workers. This is something that harms the reputation of the Kingdom, especially when the issue is related to foreign workers with contracts that defined their rights and duties and the obligations of their employers.

If some of these companies justify their injustice by claiming that they did not receive their money for carrying out public projects from the government, it is necessary to study this issue so that the workers do not become the victims of incompetence by others.

The companies or government departments must commit to pay the workers' salaries, at least an advance against the deferred payment, to mitigate the sufferings of these workers. This solution may be a complex one, yet it is not as complicated as the life of the workers whose salaries are delayed for more than 10 months.

We can imagine the magnitude of the suffering of these workers when the director of the labor office in the province where the company is located suggests charity options as a possibility for helping these workers. And we can see the extent of the damage we inflicted on people who we recruited to complete our projects and who came here to earn their livelihood through hard work. It is bizarre that we instead ended up looking for philanthropists who would give charity to feed these workers.