Binladin pays a month’s back wages to 35,000

Updated 19 May 2016

Binladin pays a month’s back wages to 35,000

RIYADH: Seven Saudi banks have paid SR100 million to workers of troubled Saudi Binladin Group, covering only one month of the money owed to them, according to a report in a local publication Wednesday.

These monies were for about 35,000 Saudi and expatriate workers earning under SR4,000. The vast majority will likely be paid by Ramadan 15, sources were quoted as saying. Other sources said the company secured a SR2.5 billion loan from a group of local banks to pay employees’ wages and end-of-service benefits.
Binladin has declined to describe its financial situation publicly, but Gulf commercial bankers have said they believe it owes local and international banks a total of about $30 billion, and some think it may have to restructure some of that debt.
Many workers have reportedly refused to leave the country because they are afraid they may not be paid once they do so. There are hundreds of Saudis earning over SR5,000 who have not been paid, causing them distress as Ramadan approaches and regular payments on cars and other items become due.
Binladin recently fired 80,000 workers because it said that it wanted to rationalize costs. The company was recently allowed to compete for new contracts after the government lifted a ban on its operations following last year’s crane crash in Makkah, for which it was held partially responsible.
A Binladin spokesman said in an emailed response to Reuters news agency that the company doesn't comment on its financial issues or relationships with business partners.
"We remain focused and committed to carry out our promise and deliver the contracted projects to the highest standards and satisfaction of our clients, as we have always been doing."
Two of the sources, declining to be named because of commercial sensitivities, said Binladin had pledged land as collateral for the loan. They did not elaborate on the size or location of the land, or how long the loan was for.
When the government lifted the ban on bidding for state projects on May 5, it also removed a travel ban imposed on top Binladin executives after the disaster. Days later, Binladin made delayed salary payments to some 10,000 workers.


Saudi minister calls on worshippers to respect safety measures in mosques

Updated 28 May 2020

Saudi minister calls on worshippers to respect safety measures in mosques

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia's minister of Islamic affairs called on Muslims to respect ongoing preventative measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) inside mosques as the Kingdom eases some restrictions.

Sheikh Abdullatif Al-Asheikh said worshipers should bring their own prayer mats, wear masks and wash their hands prior to coming to the mosque to ensure the safety of other worshippers. 

Al-Asheikh said preventative measures will remain in place to ensure a safe return of worshipers to mosques for Friday prayers from May 31 until June 20, except in Makkah. 

Worshippers must keep two meters apart and leave a row of space empty between each row, he said.

The minister said the elderly and children under 15 should continue to avoid going to the mosque. 

The instructions follow other announcements in the Kingdom relaxing aspects of the lockdown, including reducing curfews and allowing freer movement of people.