5 Saudis injured in Duba as ‘unpaid’ Egyptians riot

5 Saudis injured in Duba as ‘unpaid’ Egyptians riot
Updated 14 October 2014

5 Saudis injured in Duba as ‘unpaid’ Egyptians riot

5 Saudis injured in Duba as ‘unpaid’ Egyptians riot

Egyptian seasonal Haj workers went on the rampage in the northwestern Red Sea city of Duba on Sunday by burning tires and forcing the closure of a major road in the area because of a dispute over salaries and delayed travel arrangements to go home.
The angry men cut off the international road at the entrance of Duba, setting the tires alight near a gas station. The security forces, with the help of Egyptian consular officials, and older members of the group, helped to restore calm.
However, there were clashes between the workers and Saudis. Five citizens were taken to hospital.
The rioters are among 1,700 seasonal butchers who stay in Saudi Arabia during Haj. They are typically paid around SR1,500.
This is the third consecutive year that there have been labor disputes between companies and seasonal workers, Arab News has discovered.
The workers claimed that the company failed to fulfill its promises. Sources confirmed that the company had asked them to travel by sea without providing them with stipends.
The workers claimed that their return trips home were delayed even though they paid all their dues to the company before heading to Saudi Arabia.
Some of them said the company had asked them to leave on ferries without reservations. “The company didn’t even pay us the money they owe us for the job we successfully finished,” one worker complained.
Witnesses told Arab News that hundreds of the workers were sleeping rough — in the port’s squares and under trees.
Sources at the Egyptian Consulate in Jeddah said that Sunday’s rioting ended after the intervention of consular officials. The consulate has agreed with the recruiting company to set up a schedule for the workers’ departure and to pay them their dues.

— With input from Galal Fakkar