Hundreds of workers walk out to protest wage delay

RIYADH: Hundreds of workers at the King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) and extension projects at the King Saud University (KSU) stopped work for a second day Thursday.

“The workers who stopped work were hired by subcontractors of a main contractor, who has projects both in the KAFD and KSU,” a subcontractor who requested anonymity told Arab News on Thursday.

He said the workers stopped working either because their salaries or overtime pay were not paid.

“There are many subcontractors in the KAFD and KSU projects who cannot pay their workers either because they have run out of cash or they cannot collect bills from the main contractor,” he said.

Arab News tried to enter the construction site but was not allowed by the guards, who said only workers or individuals doing business with the contractors could go inside.

While some workers could be seen inside the construction area, many could be seen leaving the premises, saying they had stopped working.

An A/C technician from Uttar Pradesh, India, said he and many of his colleagues had stopped working because their company, a subcontractor of one of the four main contractors of the KAFD, had not paid their overtime dues.

“We get our salaries, which is sometimes delayed. However, we don’t get payment for overtime services rendered,” he said, adding that he receives SR1,000 a month in basic salary and SR200 in food allowance. He said he accumulated 100 hours unpaid overtime.

An electrician-mechanic from Peshawar, Pakistan, said he has not received his SR2,500 a month salary.

“This is the first time that I have not received my salary and we have to get across the message that we have families back home to support. This is also the first time that we have stopped working,” he said.

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