14 May 2016
The past year has not been good to Osama Bin Laden’s brothers, owners of the Saudi Binladen Group, one of the kingdom’s leading construction conglomerates.
Tumbling oil prices that have forced the government to delay payments as a result of sharply falling revenues left the group no choice but to lay off tens of thousands of employees. The layoff sparked rare labour unrest in the kingdom with workers who had not been paid for months burning buses in the holy city of Mecca after a tense encounter with management.
The layoffs followed last year’s collapse of a Bin Laden construction crane that killed 107 people and prompted the government to ban the brothers from travelling abroad as well as review the company’s massive government contracts. The travel ban was lifted earlier this month, eight months after it was imposed, according to sources close to the company.
Bin Laden, according to reports in Saudi Arabia’s controlled media and sources close to the company, laid off 77,000 foreign and 12,000 Saudi employees or almost half of its 200,000-strong labour force. The government’s failure to pay the company on time meant it could not meet its monthly payroll of $200 million, leaving it with a debt of $600 million to its employees.
… Dr. James M. Dorsey is a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, co-director of the University of Würzburg’s Institute for Fan Culture, and the author of The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer blog and a just published book with the same title.
RSIS / Online
Last updated on 16/05/2016