Sep 5, 2016
In Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, 10,000 Indian migrant workers are threatened with starvation after being laid off. They are in more danger because they haven’t been paid for the last months they worked.
This mainly affects workers on big construction sites. The drop in oil prices has led to a drop in income from oil sales in these countries, and an economic crisis that has led them to shut down some construction sites. For several months, the construction companies stopped paying their workers and only gave them food. Some of the workers were even housed in camps. At the end of July, the bosses decided to stop giving the workers food and officially laid them off.
After months without being paid, these workers no longer have money for airfare home. On top of that, in order to leave, they need their boss’s approval, which they often don’t get. And frequently, the bosses hold their passport and refuse to give it back. The situation has gotten so bad that the Indian government has felt itself obliged to send food packages.
The businesses are often the biggest local companies or are owned by Lebanese bosses. But they are contractors for some of the biggest construction companies in the world.
And they are defended by U.S. military hardware used by the repressive regimes in both countries.