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50,000 laid off in Saudi Arabia as oil crisis bites deeper

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Saudi construction giant Binladin group has laid off tens of thousands of workers, leading to rare protests, as workers torch seven buses demanding compensation as low oil prices begin to bite in earnest.

The numbers of layoffs range from 50,000 to 77,000, many of who say they were not paid for several months.

Binladin group, which last year had all of its contracts frozen after a crane fell over the Grand Mosque in Mecca, killing 107, denied that it owed its workers any compensation. The company said the layoffs were a “routine” adjustment to a slowdown in construction activity in the country.

It certainly is routine to cut your workforce when times are bad, and the times seem to be especially bad in Saudi Arabia, and not because of a “slowdown” in construction per se. The country is increasingly feeling the pinch of low oil prices, and despite deputy…

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