Billion-dollar bailout: Saudi government helps Binladin Group honor unpaid salaries
Thousands of Indian workers have lost their jobs due to a slowdown in Saudi economy and have returned to India. (File photo)
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Saudi Arabia has paid about $1 billion to Saudi Binladin Group, its biggest construction company, to enable it to cover unpaid back wages for its construction workers (majority of them from the Indian subcontinent), said a report.
Last month, the Binladin Group was paid between $800 million to $1.1 billion so that the firm could "honour unpaid wages", the Wall Street Journal reported.
The family-owned firm is involved in construction projects such as the Holy Mosque expansion in Makkah and building Riyadh's financial district.
The payments were being made so that thousands of idled labourers (the migrant workforce) could afford to leave the kingdom. In the last one year, payments have been slowed down as Saudi Arabia's oil revenue diminished, said the report.
The issue of Indian workers not getting paid was first highlighted on July 30 when the country's foreign minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted that 10,000 Indian nationals, who had not been paid salaries for several months, were facing a "food crisis" in Saudi Arabia.
A spokesperson of the Saudi Binladin Group confirmed the payments were made, but refused to provide further details, stated the report.
Thousands of Indian workers had lost their jobs due to a slowdown in Saudi economy. Since then, most of the workers have been brought back to India, it added.
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