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Hundreds of workers left stranded as employer battles with employment agent

Hundreds of workers left stranded as employer battles with employment agent

More than 450 Bangladeshi workers stranded in Riyadh without food and water as Saudi employer swamped by early arrivals.


September 4, 2008 9:49 by

M Ghazanfar Ali Khan

More than 450 Bangladeshi workers have been left stranded in Riyadh without food and water by a local company, which promised them lucrative jobs in Saudi Arabia.

“The local Bangladeshi mission is arranging food and other provisions on a daily basis for these workers,” said Haroonor Rashid, a spokesman for the Bangladeshi Embassy, yesterday.
Rashid told Arab News he has been arranging food for the workers on a daily basis for the last four days.

A spokesman for the Arsee Contracting Company, which has hired the workers on job visas, claimed that “the problem was now over and the workers have been deployed on the jobs at different locations.”

The spokesman, who only identified himself as Ejaz, said: “The remaining 150 workers will also be deployed on Saturday.”

Ejaz says that the recruiting company in Bangladesh ignored the company’s request to send the workers on a staggered schedule. Instead, the company says the recruiter sent all the requested workers at one time. The embassy spokesman disputed the claim.

“The company and the recruiting agent are playing the blame game,” said Rashid. “At the moment, it is a question of workers’ survival, but later we will scrutinize the contractual obligations, the salary structure, and who is to be blamed for the plight of the workers and how to resolve the issue.”

Rashid, replying to a question about the wage hike of Bangladeshi workers as announced by the Dhaka government recently, said that he has also not seen the copies of the contracts of these stranded workers so far.

He pointed out that the Bangladeshi government has risen by 37.5 percent the minimum wage paid to all its citizens working in Saudi Arabia. The minimum wage paid to the workers will rise to SR550 ($147) per month from SR400 ($107).


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