By Staff writer
Workers protested last year over not being paid their salaries for six months
The Saudi Criminal Court in Makkah has sentenced 49 workers to prison and flogging for rioting and damaging public property to protest delays in the payment of their salaries by construction giant Saudi Binladin Group.
The workers’ demonstrations, which took place last year over delayed payments of up to six months, involved the burning of buses used to transport them, reported Al-Watan newspaper.
Some of them received four months in prison and 300 lashes for their role in the protests and for inciting other workers to commit the riots.
The protests were also in line with the company’s termination of over 80,000 foreign workers and its issuance of their exit visas. Many workers refused to leave without being paid their late wages.
An official investigation was launched and authorities were reportedly coordinating with the firm to meet the workers’ demands.
In July last year, seven Saudi banks disbursed $25m to pay for the workers’ wages. However, a large number of workers had yet to be paid their delayed salaries.
Legal adviser Abdulaziz Al-Harthy said the Binladin Group had the right to file a lawsuit against the workers for damaging its property.
The group is one of the world’s largest construction firms and is responsible for some of the state’s most important projects including roads, tunnels, airports and hotels.