Saudi employer dumps workers in the desert to prevent court hearing
A company in Saudi Arabia has reportedly dumped a group of Indian workers in the desert to prevent them from attending a labour court hearing.
Saudi Gazette reports that the 29 men worked for a maintenance and cleaning firm in the Eastern Province that was contracted by the Education Ministry to clean schools.
They had completed their two-year contract term with a basic monthly salary of SAR400 ($106.66) and food allowance of SAR250 ($66.66) and were wanting to return home, according to the publication.
After lodging a complaint with the labour office in Al-Ahsa, where they lived and worked, the men were told that their employer had agreed to fly them home and they boarded a bus with their luggage to fly back to India.
However, instead of being dropped off at Damman’s King Fahd International Airport they were left stranded 200km away in Safaniya in an apparent attempt to stop them from attending a scheduled court hearing.
“We have been cheated time and again. First it was in India and now here in the kingdom. They told us to pack our luggage to fly to India, so we did the packing and boarded a bus for King Fahd International Airport in Dammam. Instead of taking us to the airport, they dumped us almost in the middle of desert,” employee Aqeelan Nagarajan was quoted as saying.
He said the men could not travel back to Al-Ahsa because they did not have their residency permits to cross the checkpoints.
The men have since been living in congested accommodation without food or drinking water but are receiving assistance from the Indian Embassy and Saudi Labour Ministry, according to the publication.