Makkah cleaners call off strike

Updated 10 November 2013

Makkah cleaners call off strike

“Operation Cleanup” began in the holy city of Makkah on Friday as a strike by thousands of cleaning workers of a leading cleaning company came to an end. Garbage that had piled up in the past five days is being cleared up.
Garbage trucks and cleaning personnel have been pressed into service since early Friday to clear thousands of tons of accumulated garbage that pose a threat to public health. Residents who were forced to cover their noses to avoid the stink of accumulated garbage can breathe easy now, and are a happier lot.
Pakistani expatriate Kamran Butt told Arab News that garbage in his area in Makkah had still not been lifted by the municipality and that his neighborhood was suffering from unhygienic conditions. Indian expatriate paramedic Mohammed Moqeem said it had been a testing time for them in the last couple of days as garbage had piled up and cats were spilling it out along the road.
The cleaning company has a work force of over 6,000 employees, mostly South Asian expatriates, a majority of whom are from Bangladesh. All them work for pittance. They alleged that their accommodation at Al-Kakiah area in Makkah lacked even the basic minimum facilities.
The company also had slipped into the red category under the Nitaqat grading system of the Ministry of Labor where residency permits (iqama) of expatriate workers can’t be renewed, which led to the strike by employees.
Frustrated over the working conditions and denial of renewal of iqamas, thousands of workers decided to strike work, creating chaos in the holy city as garbage accumulated in the past five days, with residents expressing their concern over hygiene.
The labor problem has been there for some time now, but the company management chose to ignore it despite it being in the red category. Other problems too cropped up that affected the workers’ but the issue came out in the open after the Haj season, when he workers decided to strike work.
Last year too, the workers went on strike for similar reasons in addition to delayed payment of salaries. This year, however, there is no complaint of delayed payment of salaries.


Reem A. Alfrayan, executive director of G20 Saudi Secretariat

Reem A. Alfrayan
Updated 20 September 2020

Reem A. Alfrayan, executive director of G20 Saudi Secretariat

  • Alfrayan received a bachelor’s degree in technical education and training, workforce development and education at Ohio State University in 2001

Dr. Reem A. Alfrayan has been the executive director of G20 Saudi Secretariat since January 2019.
Commenting on women’s empowerment in the Kingdom, she recently said on a TV show: “We’ve passed the stage of dreaming; with the help of Vision 2030, they’ve become a reality, we need new dreams now.”
She was the first woman to be appointed as assistant secretary-general at the Council of Saudi Chambers in September 2014.
Alfrayan received a bachelor’s degree in technical education and training, workforce development and education at Ohio State University in 2001.
In 2002, she earned a master’s degree in instructional technologies and media policy, and leadership from the same university.
Alfrayan obtained another master’s degree in educational leadership and organization, policy and leadership at the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2013.
She did a Ph.D. in educational leadership and organization from the same university in 2014.
After obtaining her first master’s degree, she joined the Arab Open University as instructional technology unit supervisor at its headquarters in Kuwait in 2003.
Between 2005 and 2006, Alfrayan served as a training specialist with a project launched by the General Authority for Tourism and Antiquities.
She then joined King Abdul Aziz Medical City as an administrative planning and processing development officer.
She also served as general manager of businesswomen’s affairs at the Council of Saudi Chambers from October 2007 to January 2010.
Alfrayan also actively participates in volunteer work.