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Cypriot group J&P hit by workers' strike in Saudi Arabia


Cypriot engineering group Joannou & Paraskevaides (J&P) is facing a serious crisis with workers striking work at the company's construction sites in Saudi Arabia over pending salaries since February, said a report, citing sources.

The company operates some 15 construction sites in the country for projects worth $2.2 billion.

The staff had warned the company, J&P Overseas, that they would not return to work after the Eid Al Fitr holidays, which ended on Wednesday, unless a written commitment was given by the board on the outstanding pay and the timeframe for disbursing it, reported the Cyprus Mail.

The company till date owes its workers, including 100 Cypriots, nearly SR80 million ($21.3 million).

Most of the 5,500 staff have not been paid since February, although for some it has been longer than six months. Saudi nationals working for the company were paid up until April.

In January this year, the company employed around 7,000 workers, but staff are quitting on a daily basis. In January 2017, the company had around 13,000 staff in its employment, said the report.

On Wednesday, around 300 workers demonstrated at the company’s headquarters in Riyadh, demanding their salaries, stated the Cyprus Mail.

Earlier in April, J&P Overseas made €120 million ($140 million) from the sale of an airport in Jordan, which  Andreas Papathomas, the man in charge of the J&P Overseas’ Saudi operations, said would boost the company’s cash flow and enable it to pay staff in Saudi Arabia, but it appears that cashflow problems persist, it added.

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