Oil’s Decline Takes Toll on Saudi Conglomerate
Date Reported: 9 May 2016
Location: Saudi Arabia
CompaniesSaudi Binladin Group - Employer
OtherGovernment ( Sector not reported/applicable ) - Unknown
Total individuals affected: Number unknownMigrant & immigrant workers: ( Number unknown - Location unknown , Construction , Gender not reported )
IssuesWage Theft , Freedom of Expression , Violence , Access to Non-Judicial Remedy
Response sought: Yes, by Journalist
Action taken: Problems have centred on the government being unable to pay the company (and the wider private sector) but in October 2016 it was reported that the government had paid its construction firms up to $1bn to pay migrant workers' outstanding wages. In January 2023, the Government of the Philippines announced ongoing negotiations for the unpaid salaries of over 10,000 Filipino construction workers in Saudi Arabia. The workers had been employed by construction companies including Saudi Oger and Saudi BinLadin, which had since gone into liquidation in 2015 and 2016. In March 2023, the Department of Migrant Workers updated that workers would receive financial aid of P10,000 - USD180 - each. DMW alsosaid that over 100 claimants had died while waiting to receive their unpaid wages. In May 2023, the Department of Migrant Workers updated that 14,000 former overseas Filipino workers may be declared eligible for back wages once the host government validates their qualifications. In August 2023, Migrante Philippines critiqued the Department of Migrant Workers for giving the OFWs false hope of getting their salary back before the end of the year. Migrante called for greater transparency from the government. The workers are still waiting for their back wages. Later, in October 2023, Philstar reports the President of the Philippines said the payment was in 'process' and that the Filipino Government were waiting for the 'details to be sorted out between the Saudi side'. In November 2023 it was reported workers had started to receive unpaid wages, however, Philippines banks refused to accept cheques in Saudi riyal.
Source type: News outlet
Saudi Binladin Group (SBG) struggles with massive debt as government cuts funding for megaprojects.
An executive at one of SBG’s subsidiaries said the parent company hadn’t provided any funding to the unit for more than six months, triggering a funding crunch that has stalled longer-term plans. Regional and international bankers say the group is sitting on more than $30 billion in debt...[and] has already defaulted on an unspecified number of debt repayments...[because] the Saudi government has failed to make payments on time for completed or ongoing construction work...SBG accounts for about 70% of Saudi government construction contracts by value according to some industry estimates, making it the construction group most vulnerable to a slowdown in spending.
The group decided last year to eliminate 15,000 jobs out of a workforce of approximately 200,000...The failure to pay some of its employees has stirred labor tensions in the kingdom where large demonstrations are rare. Hundreds of SBG workers took to the streets at the end of February to demand unpaid wages...After police intervened, and following meetings with company representatives, the protesters obtained a guarantee they would receive their unpaid wages and also the chance to leave the country or switch employer...“Saudi Binladin Group has failed to pay their workers for months,” said Khaled Abalkhail, a spokesman for the labor ministry. “They have been sanctioned according to regulations.”
In the absence of Western-style bankruptcy courts in Saudi Arabia, bankers warn that any sort of restructuring proceedings at SBG would be lengthy and complicated. A financial adviser familiar with the SBG situation said, “There will have to be a political solution"...[others] close to the group say it is unlikely SBG will ever be allowed to go under...“It’s too big to fail,” said a creditor at a Persian Gulf bank company who is close to SBG. “It’s an integral part of the Saudi system so they will find a solution,” the person said.