At least 50,000 Filipino workers affected by oil crisis

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At least 50,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFW) in the industrial section of Saudi Arabia will be affected by the current energy crisis in the Middle East by March 2016 based on the account of a migrant group protecting the rights of workers abroad, Manila Bulletin reported.

In an initial study by Migrante-KSA (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia), that primarily affected are workers of Saudi Oger Ltd. and Bin Laden Co., two of the biggest contractors hired by the Saudi government for construction and industrial projects.

Migrante-KSA noted at least 20,000 OFWs from Saudi Oger Ltd. have already been affected by the oil crisis since last year, while at least 5,000 OFWs are set to be retrenched by Bin Laden Co. come March 2016 in light of mass lay-offs and austerity measures being employed by the Saudi government.

Earlier, Saudi Aramco, the country’s national oil industry, had already warned of massive retrenchment of 25 percent of its labour force due to financial cutbacks.

Garry martinez of Migrante said that since October last year, Filipinos working in these two biggest companies have either been ‘idled’, their work permits not renewed, their wages withheld for as long as six months or their work hours lessened.

Martinez noted that thousands of OFWs are now jobless in construction and industrial camps while they await resolution of labour cases they filed against their companies.