Pharmacist, unpaid for 14 months, survives on charity

A pharmacist is surviving on charity in Makkah as his sponsor has stopped paying him his salary since 14 months.

“I came here to help my family. But I am being treated like an animal,” said the Indian pharmacist, describing his economic and heath condition as “critical.”

“I am depressed. My bad luck brought me here. I won’t care if I die; my family and friends will cry for sometime but I will get relief!,” Syed Kaleemuddin, who holds a master’s degree, told Saudi Gazette.

The Preliminary Commission for Labor Disputes operating under the Labor Ministry in Makkah region has ordered the employer to pay SR16,000 to the pharmacist and send him home. But the employer has refused to pay and has filed an appeal.

Kaleemuddin is now living in an accommodation provided by his employer in Al-Kakiya in Makkah.

The story goes back to August 2013 when Kaleemuddin was informed by his employer that the polyclinic and pharmacy where he worked will be demolished due to the expansion around the Grand Mosque area. He received his last salary in October 2013. The problem got more complicated when his contract ended in 2014, and his iqama (residence permit) expired in July 2014.

Kaleemuddin said he came to the Kingdom on a salary of SR4,000. While it all looked perfect to him in the beginning, things dramatically changed after he was asked to stop work.

The pharmacist claims his sponsor refuses to give him a final exit visa until the pharmacy reopens.

The polyclinic where he worked is located in Al-Nakkasa district of Makkah. While the pharmacist’s co-workers were shifted to other cities, he claimed he was asked to remain in Makkah until the pharmacy is shifted to a new area.

Documents seen by Saudi Gazette show that the pharmacy has not yet received a final approval from the Ministry of Health to operate in the new location.

After six months of suffering, Kaleemuddin filed a lawsuit at the labor office in Makkah against his employer. But the representative of the employer never showed up in any court session.

It took the Preliminary Commission for Labor Disputes six months to issue the verdict.

But the decision has not been implemented as the employer filed an appeal. The verdict, a copy of which is obtained by Saudi Gazette, says, “The pharmacy has been closed and moved to another place, and this falls under the category (emergency conditions) due to the demolition work around the Grand Mosque.

The commission specifies the amount SR16,000 as unpaid salaries, taking into consideration the emergency conditions. And the employer is to issue a final exist to the defendant.”

“I am not here to fight, I just want to help my family. I was not able to send a single Riyal to my family for the past 14 months,” said Kaleemuddin.

He claimed that the verdict did not support him, and believes the amount it specified does not meet his actual salaries which should add up to SR56,000. However, he said he has agreed to the verdict to put an end to his “misery and go back to his home country.”

The representative of Kaleemuddin’s sponsor said that the pharmacist was “living, eating and drinking on our expenses.”

Asked why they did not renew his iqama, he said, “The pharmacist refused to provide us with his old iqama.” Asked why they would not implement the verdict issued, he said: “We have appealed.”

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Pharmacist, unpaid for 14 months, survives on charity
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