Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Photo: iStock
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Photo: iStock

The Philippine government will repatriate 1,470 Filipino workers from Saudi Arabia after they were removed from their jobs following a company lockout.

In a statement, the Department of Labor and Employment said that the Filipino workers were displaced from their jobs with Azmeel Contracting Corporation after the company’s assets were reportedly frozen by the Saudi government.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said that prior to the lockout, the workers were not paid their salaries for between three and six months, which prompted the workers to stage a protest. Philippine officials flew to Saudi Arabia and held discussions with the Ministry of Labor regarding repatriation of the workers and payment of their back wages.

“I will talk with the Minister of Labor of Saudi Arabia on the repatriation of our Filipino workers and the request for the Saudi government’s assistance to look for jobs elsewhere, as well as legal assistance to collect their monetary claims from their employer,” Bello said.

One of the Filipino workers said that because he was not paid his salary for six months, he was not able to send money home to his family for the medical needs of his sick child, who died in July, GMA News reported.

Bello said the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration will provide each of the Filipino workers with financial assistance of PHP20,000 (US$370).