Labor strike continues for second day in Makkah

MAKKAH: Over 600 construction workers employed by a major construction company on a project close to the Grand Mosque in Makkah continued their strike for a second successive day on Monday.

The men, working on the King Abdul Aziz Endowment Project and the Grand Mosque’s northern courtyard expansion project, have gone on strike after not being paid their salaries for two months. They are also demanding better work conditions.

Eyewitnesses said the workers began gathering close to the King Abdul Aziz Endowment Project at around 7 a.m. on Monday. They added that the number of workers was larger than those who gathered to strike on Sunday.

The workers also shouted slogans demanding unpaid salaries. Police officers arrived at the scene and contained the workers in an area to allow space for pedestrians and pilgrims to walk. The huge gathering and police presence also created some confusion among pilgrims and visitors to the Grand Mosque.

A number of workers said they were protesting after not receiving their salaries for two months, adding that they had also not been paid overtime. They also called for their salaries to be increased and better accommodation.

One of the men, who asked for his name not to be published, said the workers met their employers and told them of their demands. The employers promised to resolve the matter and said that each worker would be paid an additional SR200 until the problem is solved.

Maj. Abdul Mohsen Al-Mayman, spokesman for Makkah police, said police officers were at the location to contain the strike and separate the workers from members of the public and pilgrims.

He added that police listened to the workers’ demands and that the matter has been brought to the attention of the Labor Office.

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