DAMMAM — Asian bus drivers went on strike Tuesday and refused to transport more than 3,600 female university students in Dammam because they had not been paid their salaries for more than six months.
The University of Dammam was forced to hire a number of locals to make up the shortfall, but absenteeism reached more than 300. Even with some guardians transporting their daughters, the shortfall of drivers could not be filled.
Parents demanded the intervention of government officials with the operating company to clear the dues of the drivers and prevent the recurrence of similar disturbances in future. They also expressed their annoyance with the situation, and demanded that there be a monitoring body to ensure that drivers receive their rights and avoid any disruption to the students’ schedule.
A traffic supervisor at the college said that they had to request the assistance of some Saudi drivers to overcome this situation. A Saudi driver pointed out that he refuses to join the transport company because of low wages that amount to SR3,000 per month.
Ibrahim Al-Khalidi, Director of Public Relations and Media at the University, told Al-Yaum that the drivers’ refusal to work was due to the delay in payment of their salaries by the operating company, and that the impact was somewhat overcome by the university’s drivers.
The university called the transport company’s manager to emphasize the need to settle the drivers’ outstanding dues to avoid disruptions in the future. — SG