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MUSCAT: Thousands of South Asian labourers working on the expansion of Muscat airport downed tools yesterday in a rare strike to demand better safety conditions after a worker died in an accident, a company official and workers said.
The work stoppage is likely to cause further delay to the $1.8bn contract to build a new terminal, which the Omani government awarded in 2010 to BEB, a joint venture of US company Bechtel and Turkey’s Enka.
An Indian worker died late on Monday when he was run over by a bus belonging to the contractor, workers and a BEB official told Reuters. “We will not go to work today unless our company assures us that they will revise safety standards in our workplace,” Mohan Raman, a worker with BEB, said. “We have 10,000 workers and most of them are on strike,” said the BEB official. “We are improving safety standards to make sure such accidents will never happen again.”
A BEB statement yesterday did not refer to a strike, but said the company had “suspended work today (Tuesday) in respect for the deceased employee which is customary in the Indian culture”. “An investigation is being carried out by the company and the local authorities,” the statement said, adding that work would resume today.