NOTE: A separate and detailed blog entry will follow later this week on a meeting that took place at the Hilton between ATG and MC (this meeting is mentioned briefly below).
A while back, I reported that I had received a phone call on December 7th, 2016 from a Medinah Company representative. The call was in response to an email I had sent to Ahmed Al Baker on December 1st, 2016.
Having not received a reply, I sent the email again on December 5th. I finally received a call from Ahmed on December 7th at 14:53 GMT time. The call lasted five minutes.
The conversation was friendly and positive. Ahmed explained that money had already been set aside to pay former crew the wages they were still owed (including any ongoing crew who were owed wages) and that a separate company had been appointed to oversee this process and guarantee that it happened. He promised me that all crew would be fully reimbursed by the end of January 2017 (this month) and mentioned that I would hear from the “appointed company” very soon to enquire about what money I was personally owed. I thanked Ahmed for taking the time to call me and wrote a follow-up blog entry on his call (blog entry “Promising News” – click here to read).
It wasn’t long before I started getting emails and messages from unpaid crew saying no-one was contacting them about how much they were owed or to ask for invoices and any attempts to contact Medinah Company or Ahmed were being ignored. I wrote three more blog entries on the subject mentioning this. Crew continued to contact me and still no-one had heard a thing or been able to reach anyone.
But I decided to give Ahmed the benefit of the doubt. I would wait until the New Year. If nothing had happened by then, it would be clear something was not right. The New Year came and still no-one knew how to get paid. So on January 7th, I decided it was time to contact Ahmed again.
As can be seen below, between January 4th and January 13th, I sent Ahmed Al Baker six messages asking him to supply information so crew could be paid. I used an App called Telegram that records sending, delivery and reading of messages.
Like WhatsApp, Telegram indicates messages have been received and read by the use of two green ticks. So, as can be seen below, Ahmed got all six messages and read all six messages.
But there was not one single reply.
Even when I told Ahmed I would be updating this blog and I offered him a chance to comment.
As you can see, I was courteous at all times. I was expressing concerns on behalf of the crew. I was offering a way to help. But nothing. Not one single reply.
Then last week on January 13th a meeting took place at the Hilton in Qatar between Ibrahim (ATG) and Ahmed (plus a few other company reps). Though many things were discussed, almost all of it revolving around past work, not one mention was made of paying former crew (I shall write a separate blog entry on the specifics of this meeting later this week which was essential a politely-managed blame game meeting).
So where does that leave the unpaid crew?
- It is now January 17th. Still no news on how the crew can submit invoices.
- Still no news on how the crew are to be paid.
- Or where they can send invoices.
With only 14 days left before the end of the month, it is looking impossible for crew to be paid by Ahmed’s promised deadline. Perhaps it would not matter if it were not for two things;
- If we at least knew who this company was, people could submit invoices and a new deadline could be set for the end of February. But no-one knows who this company is. Repeated efforts to find out what is called or where it is have been ignored.
- This company probably doesn’t exist. Why else keep its identity and location secret from the very people it is supposed to be helping?
But let’s give Ahmed Al Baker and Medinah Company the benefit of the doubt. Miracles do happen and maybe people will…
- Be told how to submit their invoices
- Get to submit their invoices
- Get paid
…all within the next 15 days.
And if that doesn’t happen?
Watch this space……….
FOOTNOTE: You can always try submitting your invoices directly to Ahmed at Medinah Company. Buy as mentioned earlier, I know some people have already tried that and received no response.