Construction company Saudi Binladin Group has laid off 50,000 staff, a newspaper reported on Friday, as pressure on the industry rises amid government spending cuts to survive an era of cheap oil.
The total workforce at Binladin, one of Saudi Arabia's biggest firms and among the Middle East's largest builders, is around 200,000, according to its LinkedIn page.
Saudi newspaper al-Watan, citing unnamed sources, reported that the group has terminated the contracts of 50,000 workers - apparently all foreigners - and given them permanent exit visa to leave the kingdom.
The paper said the workers refused to leave the country without getting paid and some had not received wages for more than four months. They were protesting in front of the Binladin's offices in the country almost daily, the paper added.
Binladin did not immediately reply to an email seeking comment on Friday, a day off in the Gulf region.
The company has had a series of pay disputes with workers this year. In March, scores of workers gathered outside one of the company's office in Saudi Arabia to demand unpaid wages.