THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: With around 700 Malayalis said to be among the 5,000-odd workers held up in Saudi Arabia, the Norka department has also swung into action by reaching out to them through the ministry of external affairs (MEA) and community groups in the region. The authorities have also advised the workers to lodge petitions with the Saudi labour ministry seeking pending salary dues and other benefits.
The chief minister's office said the MEA had offered assistance to those who wished to return. The Norka department was trying to collect the list of Malayalis who wanted to return. Norka secretary Usha Titus, who got in touch with MEA officials and Malayali associations as per a direction of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, said even as some of the employees wished to stay back until they get their wages cleared, in the case of those whose job permits expired, there was no option but to return.
The Embassy officials had advised all the workers to file complaints with the labour authorities seeking compensation. While some of the employees said that they did not get salaries for the past seven months, many were said to have much more salary dues.
Moreover, the employees would also have claims for other compensations under the labour laws. Ms Titus also said that the five labour camps at Sojects, Highway, Rohali, Medina and Riyadh had sufficient food for four days. Though all the workers are Malayalis, a few Malayali workers of the shutdown firm was staying outside the labour camp with their families.