Muscat: Some 90 Indian workers stranded in Nizwa have been helped by the Indian embassy in Oman which paid them each a small amount to buy food.
The company had left the workers in the lurch, delaying the payment of their salaries for the last six months.
“The company management changed thrice in the last few months. Our salaries were not paid for the last six months of 2016 and two months in 2015. The catering people also stopped the food supplies last week, as the company had not paid their dues. We were literally stranded,” a worker said. The company’s 82 workers in the Nizwa camp and 11, including three engineers in Muscat, are facing a tough time.
“The company had more than 120 workers. A few had gone on leave. We have asked them to not return until the conditions improve,” another worker added.
“On Friday, the Indian embassy officials visited the camp and released funds for the workers to help them buy food,” the worker said.
The workers in Nizwa camp will be going to court for the first hearing in this case, and while workers in Muscat will be going to the labour dispute department in Muscat.
Hundreds of workers have been left in the lurch as companies are facing difficult economic time due to a slump in oil prices.
Trade union leaders in Oman have expressed their concerns over lay-offs across sectors.
“We are aware that this is happening in different places in Oman. Sometimes in big numbers and sometimes in small. Employers should act responsibly. They should not leave workers in the lurch without food and shelter,” Mohammed Khaldi, a trade union leader, said.
On January 1, Oman released its State Budget showing a smaller deficit, but maintained tight curbs on spending because of the low oil prices, which are depleting state revenues.
Government spending this year is estimated at OMR11.7 billion ($30.4 billion), with projected revenues of OMR8.7 billion, which would result in a deficit of OMR3 billion.
The government’s original budget plan for 2016 was OMR11.9 billion in spending, OMR8.6 billion in revenues and a deficit of OMR 3.3 billion.
The actual deficit turned out to be much higher than expected last year. It was OMR4.8 billion in the first 10 months of 2016, according to the official data, hinting that the Omani economy will take longer to recover from the oil price crisis.