Mayday at Maldives, the drudgery continues…

Isn’t it ironic that most resorts in Maldives still do not recognize May 1 as a public holiday despite Mayday being officially declared a public holiday in 2011 by then president Nasheed? It shall be more so, considering the fact that this affects tourism workers who are by far the most productive workers and the most deserving of a Mayday break from workplace. However stubbornness have it, that its always the unproductive, demoralized, polarized civil workers who gets all the benefits while the resort workers toil hard, unloved and uncared for. This is not to belittle the civil workers,  but to emphasize a massive wrong doing done to resort workers which nobody seems to notice. On the issue of Mayday, it is indeed past time that we seem to come to a conclusion about which is a public holiday, which is a govt. holiday, a bank holiday, or a religious holiday or whatever. Currently the resort HR’s are still sticking to an outdated portion of the hard-fought-and-almost-lost-cause-called-labour-rights-bill which has a section for “miscellaneous matters” where it  says:

“public holiday” shall mean Fridays, Day of Commemoration of the Birth of Prophet Mohamed, Day of Commemoration of the Maldives converting to Islam, Independence Day, National Day, First Day of Ramazan, Day of Eid‐ul‐Fitr, Victory Day, Republic Day, Hajj Day and Day of Eid‐ul‐Ad’ha;”

Links:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Workers’_Day http://minivannews.com/news-in-brief/may-1-designated-a-public-holiday-to-mark-labour-day-19395

 http://www.miadhu.com/2011/04/local-news/labour-day-may-1-to-be-public-holiday-in-the-maldives/

 http://www.presidencymaldives.gov.mv/Index.aspx?lid=11&dcid=7288

 http://www.sun.mv/17869

 DO

Alidhoo staff on strike, again!

Alidhoo Cinnamon Island JResorts Maldives

Alidhoo (Cinnamon Island)


We are getting reports that a strike is happening at Alidhoo Cinnamon Island over last month’s pay. Apparently the resort has still not paid August month’s pay to the staff and is not even able to tell the staff when the resort can pay them. The same situation was repeated in June when staff had to go on strike to get their pay! That time the resort fired 12 staff for their legitimate demand on pay.
SAARC secretary General Dhiyana and JResorts owner Abdulla Jabir

Chairman of Yacht Tours Jabir with his wifeDhiyana former AG


Under the labour laws of the country, every employer is required to pay the previous month’s salary no later than the 10th of the next month. Cinnamon Island resort which is owned and managed by JResorts Maldives (formerly Yacht Tours Maldives) has a history of abusing workers rights and flout labour laws without fear of reprisal. The managing director of the company happens to be a senior member of the ruling MDP and a former parliamentarian whose wife is the current SAARC secretary general. It is scandalous that such high profile persons can afford to openly flout laws of the country with impunity.

We call on the Tourism Ministry and the Human Resources ministry to look in to the recurring problem of delays on staff’s monthly pay at resorts managed by JResorts and to bring those responsible to justice.

Better living conditions at work site by law

typical resort workers accomodation  would look like this.

typical resort workers accomodation

When employers are remarkably stubborn, everything has to be done by the force of law! Atleast that seems to be how it works in the country. Although we have a booming tourism and an accompanying, construction industry, workers of both industries generally live in medieval conditions. The plight is especially worse for construction industry as the workers are mostly expatriate workers. Worse means ‘small’ things like having to work 7 days a week, no pay for 6 months, a makeshift toilet for one in 50 people and things like that. However its to their credit that Minivan observes that the most frequent complaint of expatriate workers is about unpaid wages, while that for locals is about living conditions. However the ever persistent demand by resort workers about service charge is also about money which is also legally theirs.
Minivan has an excellent article on these lines here… Pls follow to read.

Although our construction workers build world class resorts, their work accommodation is definitely other-worldly..

accomodation for resort construction workers

typical construction workers accomodation

Minimum wage debate restarted..

Minimum wage is an emotive issue which has broad consensus of acceptance. Its evident from the ongoing dialogue on the issue in various media outlets. There was an attempt to set up a minimum wage for the country to prevent labour exploitation in the past which was duly shot down by the pro-business lobby in the People’s Majls. The current attempt to set the minimum wage comes at a time the balance of power is shifting in favour of the ruling MDP party which hopes to re-energize the local economy by creating more jobs for the locals, releasing and unsustainable peg on dollar to rufiyaa and introducing long overdue tax reforms. Although there are voices of dissent only from the bussiness lobby which includes resorts owners such as Villa group chairman Gasim Ibrahim, Sun Travel Shiyam the minimum wage issues is expected to proceed through People’s Majlis.

Contrary to popular belief, minimum wage when it becomes reality will not be as high as is expected of it. The figure could be based on criteria such as type of work or age of worker etc or one all encompassing one figure such as 2000.00rf etc. It remains to be seen how the the figure is arrived but one criteria the govt. will have on mind is to device it in such away that the current labour exploitation will be halted by this one stroke of legislation. The Minimum wage figure need only to be above the edge the employers are employing expatriates over locals such as 70$ or 100$ per month levels. With these levels of pay, the workers (often expatriates) are enduring back-breaking work in exploitative conditions and suffering for years on end without any regard to rights and benefits of work. If the minimum wage figure is higher than these levels, there is a good chance that construction industry will be more favourable for local employment.

The business lobby will work hard to undermine this measure and yet they do not have convincing arguments against the measure. Vague observations like “we will go bankrupt.. if this happens” only exposes the depth of their understanding of basic issues in running a business. If they do not offer credible objections or alternatives , then they are just a voice and no more. Running a business is no more like a running a slave-trade operation. That was some time back and does not reflect current working condition in resorts or construction industry or anywhere else.

The long overdue recognition of Worker’s Day

The government has added May 1 to the list of official public holidays after a cabinet meeting yesterday. Its an improvement from over the years where a day for workers rights was unheard of. Workers rights in the Maldives has largely been championed by the tourism sector workers who have put a lot of effort to raise the issues of workers and has suffered the most. The last workers rally conducted by the TEAM was attended by a few dedicated resort workers and was a novelty kind of approach to voice workers issues. The few attendees held placards displaying various issues faced by the workers. The issues included calls to implement the provisions of labour law as well as demands to review the labour laws! The situation is worse this year as recent patches to labour law crafted by MATI (resort owner’s cartel) has been added in to labour laws, which almost effectually bans workers protests in resorts.

The employers appears still firmly locked in medieval mindset when it comes to playing fair with the workers. What has to dawn on employers is the fact that a happy, loyal, motivated workforce will be more productive and more beneficial for the business they are employed in. It doesn’t make anybody a genius to know that and to apply these. It would also be universally acknowledged that employers in this day and time couldn’t be that daft not to know such a basic truth. However it should be beneficial to be reminded that we are dealing with the same employers who raised fears that resorts would have to hire double the amount of staff they were currently employing just to comply with the 8 hour work rule when the labour law was enacted. Its a sign of how low the employer class been and how much catching up there is.

Nobody strikes.. Its illegal!

“Citizens in Maldives have recently won important rights. The 2008 constitution guarantees fundamental rights, such as freedom of speech and association. The constitution also guarantees the right to strike, which is an extremely important right for workers. Without the right to strike workers are left powerless. In dictatorships like Saudi Arabia or Burma, the denial of the right to strike is a key weapon in suppressing democracy.”

Please read the rest of the article here at Minivan News

Kurumba Village strike update

kv strike
Recent news from Kurunmba village is that the resort is shutdown for business and the guests has been relocated to other resorts while some guests who opted to cut short their holidays have departed to their countries. Its reported that the whole team of employees are on strike.

The strike was called by the staff who cite ill treatment by the management, poor food and accommodation arrangements, intimidation at work, deception on service charge payout among a long list of grievances. The list of staff grievances were submitted to the top management which was only able to promise better food and accommodation “in the future” and that the pay structure and service charge payout arrangements were said to stand as it is. It shall be noted that the main demands of the workers are better pay and the management failed to acknowledge just that.
Universal Group of hotels which operates Kurunba is notorious for its treatment of workers and its commonly acknowledged fact that workers will apply for job there if other attempts fail at securing a job at other better international brands of resorts where conditions are better. The sad fact of the times is that Kurunba Village despite being the first resort to open in the Maldives, has not learned the lessons from its history. Namely that staff are the most valuable asset a service business has and its indicative of the fact that the resorts occupancy fell to 0% from 85% just one day after the strike action began.

Following the story in many places (mentioned below) its amazing to learn how the management of Kurumba Village is out of touch with reality in terms of seeing the staff as a team and all the modern adjectives associated with team work etc. Grudging basic necessities such as air conditioning to staff in these five-star resorts to staff is beyond belief in this age and time in these world class resorts. This is all more bizarre that other 2 star and star-less resorts are able to provide better services and better pay to staff than kurnmba which is run by the biggest business group in the country.

Follow the story in these links:
kandioffpoint
Minivan news
miadhu
haveeru

A very relevant point one reader commented in Haveeru is that the cause of the strike have much less to do with the demands the staff has given to the management but to the policies of the managing company Par Aquam (A partner company of Universal) and how it deals with the staff. The writer states that the company introduces haphazard policies to staff and require immediate compliance, and the management company sidelines loyal staff who have served the company many long years infavour of their friends or acquaintances who take over those jobs (which is where the discrimination factor is). Generally the writer alleges the strike can soley be blamed on the management company’s attitude to staff rather than anything else.

Elsewhere talking to MNBC One, Mp.Easa the Tourism Employees Association’s president stated that the demands the demonstrating staff put to the management were actually rights enshrined in the labour law which cannot be compromised or talked over. Easa maintained these are not favours for the management to give but rights the staff are entitled.

Kurumba Maldives staff on STRIKE!!

Yes Finally the Universal owned resort Kurumba Maldives formerly known as Kurumba Village is officially on strike! Despite catering for diplomats, prominent businessmen, and generally to an affluent clientèle, the resort has a tall list of grievances against the staff to address which is the reason of the strike. It is quite true that the staff of KV are low paid, poorly fed, and unlovingly accommodated whilst job and work discrimination exists to a level where it can be said to be above the sky. To cap the list of woes, the service charge which the resort charges from guests are cheated on while being distributed to the staff. Then there is the little issue of over working staff without overtime pay which is brazenly against the labour law and accepted norms of business. The situation was quite the same for 38 years and now it appears the staff are protesting these conditions.
Here is the story @ Velidhoo.com
Here is the story in Minivan News
The story is also on Maldivestoday.com

Centara marginalizing locals


A damning report has appeared in Muraasil condemning Centara Grand Resort for marginalizing locals on employment, claiming that the resort employs only 67 locals out of 260. The report lists the full employee listing of the resort which appears to confirm the fact that the resort employs little over 26% locals as compared to 74% expats. The situation of employing more expatriates than locals has been a constant criticism levied at resorts by island communities, as the communities struggle with mass unemployment whilst in their mids 5 star resort properties spring up but still does little to employ locals, even eligible ones.

From an economic standpoint the situation of allowing resorts to prefer expatriates to over locals does make little sense here in Maldives, because the social instability is quite linked to unemployment and poverty which is fueling the cycle. However the under the influence of business leaders and resort owners, former government has allowed provisions in the directives on human resources to allow resorts to keep a ratio of 75% expatriates against  locals were the later were said  not to have been available. However implementation of these directives is flawed as there are no robust means to check and balance the situation in resorts with a toothless labour ministry embroiled in an all out war with opposition parliamentarians who are threatening his job.

The full leaked employee listing of Centara Grand as appears in Muraasil is:


EMP NO NAME DOJ MALDIVIAN FOREINER

CIRM 0254 John Dimon Bendtsen 15 January 2010 F
CIRM 0002 Pannathorn Nampee 27 January 2009 F
CIRM 0013 Prapaijit Thongma 02 July 2009 F
CIRM 0012 Mohamed Shahid 01 July 2009 M
CIRM 0285 Chatree Jaithamjaroenporn 15 February 2010 F
CIRM 0054 Silvia Collepardi 13 October 2009 F
Total 1 5

Engineering
CIRM 0006 Jerome Manuel 01 December 2008 F
CIRM 0007 Shantha Delawella 01 February 2009 F
CIRM 0314 Nadeeka Withanachchi 18 April 2010 F
CIRM 0324 Hassan Ali 05 May 2010 M
CIRM 0196 Hassan Zareer 06 October 2009 M
CIRM 0089 Claude G W Manuel 18 October 2009 F
CIRM 0056 Kanishka P.B Jayathilaka 01 September 2009 F
CIRM 0090 Malagoda Gamage Mahinda J 18 October 2009 F
CIRM 0057 Wickrama R Wasantha Kumara 26 September 2009 F
CIRM 0107 Rajitha Maura Nuwan Kumara 22 October 2009 F
CIRM 0186 Wathudurage Lalith 15 November 2009 F
CIRM 0213 Sahadath Rozimudeen 01 November 2009 F
CIRM 0199 Achchaylal Prasad 01 November 2009 F
CIRM 0200 Mohamed Moshin Miah 01 November 2009 F
CIRM 0198 Mohamed Atiqur 01 November 2009 F
CIRM 0253 Aynal Haque 01 January 2010 F
CIRM 0205 Kamal Asoka 01 November 2009 F
CIRM 0206 Mohamed Mohuddin 01 November 2009 F
CIRM 0211 Aiyez Suttradhan 01 November 2009 F
CIRM 0208 Basar 01 November 2009 F
CIRM 0207 Amzat Hossain 01 November 2009 F
CIRM 0210 MD Abdul Zollil Mia 01 November 2009 F
CIRM 0257 Mojibur Rahman 01 December 2009 F
CIRM 0281 P.M.K.Anil Rohana 15 February 2010 F
CIRM 0290 L S Upashantha De Silva 28 February 2010 F
CIRM 0214 Shahidul Islam 01 November 2009 F
CIRM 0258 Badsha 01 December 2009 F
Casual Jahirul F
Casual Jamal F
Casual Bahar F
Total 2 28

Food & Beverage Kitchen
CIRM 0003 Alisdair Bletcher 01 February 2009 F
CIRM 0018 Luis Rodrigo Zamora 13 August 2009 F
CIRM 0217 Mohan CN 25 November 2009 F
CIRM 0168 RMSK. Ranaweera 15 October 2009 F
CIRM 0108 Rachmat Darajat 23 October 2009 F
CIRM 0177 Ajay Panwar 10 November 2009 F
CIRM 0245 Menuwara A Indika Menuwara 30 December 2009 F
CIRM 0105 KG Sanjaya Priyadarshana 22 October 2009 F
CIRM 0232 Bantwal Moidin 04 December 2009 F
CIRM 0187 Mohamed Mannan Mehedi 14 November 2009 F
CIRM 0139 Mohottige Chaminda Tusitha Kumara 30 October 2009 F
CIRM 0146 Buban Chandra Rajbangsay 01 November 2009 F
CIRM 0150 Jeyakumar Vasagar 01 November 2009 F
CIRM 0064 Sanat Chitrakar 15 October 2009 F
CIRM 0136 K.K Lal Priyantha 15 October 2009 F
CIRM 0138 Sanjoy Gomes 25 October 2009 F
CIRM 0165 Joshi George 04 November 2009 F
CIRM 0164 Mareeswaran 04 November 2009 F
CIRM 0142 Priyolal Halder 29 October 2009 F
CIRM 0143 Ajoy Gomes 02 November 2009 F
CIRM 0140 NW Manoj Lasantha Gunawardana 30 October 2009 F
CIRM 0060 Ben Ame F.Fabro 14 October 2009 F
CIRM 0095 Lokesh Babu 19 October 2009 F
CIRM 0113 I Nyoman Riatita 23 October 2009 F
CIRM 0329 Sutrisno Nuansa 19 May 2010 F
CIRM 0137 Periakaruppan R 25 October 2009 F
CIRM 0326 Ravula Ajay 19 May 2010 F
CIRM 0244 Jayasinghe Arachchilage Ranil 26 December 2009 F
CIRM 0151 Liton 01 November 2009 F
CIRM 0059 Ayyoub Salameh 14 October 2009 F
CIRM 0181 Jayesh Premanand Karekar 12 November 2009 F
CIRM 0255 A.M.R.A.Mahesh Lashan 16 January 2010 F
CIRM 0166 Chiran Thapa 04 November 2009 F
CIRM 0169 Chaminda Ruwan Kumara 04 November 2009 F
CIRM 0275 Prasath Navaratnarajah 28 January 2010 F
CIRM 0225 Thanida Amornvatin 29 November 2009 F
CIRM 0291 La-Ong Sangvongsa 28 February 2010 F
CIRM 0227 Saowalak Thaweekan 29 November 2009 F
CIRM 0226 Saksit Charee 29 November 2009 F
CIRM 0020 Prakash Kundur 17 August 2009 F
CIRM 0019 Rajesh Kannan 15 August 2009 F
Avnir 03 June 2010 F
CIRM 0276 KG Chinthaka Pradeep Sumanasiri 02 February 2010 F
CIRM 0212 Mohamed Shabir 01 November 2009 F
CIRM 0147 Prabhu Rajan Ganesan 01 November 2009 F
CIRM 0148 Vadivel Rengaraj 01 November 2009 F
CIRM 0149 Uttam Mondal 01 November 2009 F
CIRM 0197 sohel 01 November 2009 F
CIRM 0023 Navaneetha Krishnan 31 August 2009 F
CIRM 0061 Koralage Chaminda Sisira Kumara 15 October 2009 F
CIRM 0052 Rajesh Kumar 27 September 2009 F
CIRM 0264 Pugalla A Chaminda Dayarathna 15 October 2009 F
CIRM 0063 Samaraweera Arachilage 15 October 2009 F
CIRM 0265 Mohamed Sabri Mohamed Deen 23 October 2009 F
CIRM 0144 Jahangir Miah 01 November 2009 F
CIRM 0145 Mohd Ripon Ali 01 November 2009 F
CIRM 0152 Sumon Laskar 01 November 2009 F
CIRM 0161 Syed Noorul Sultan 01 November 2009 F
CIRM 0183 Satar Aijul 11 November 2009 F
CIRM 0202 Mohamed Hasan 01 November 2009 F
CIRM 0203 Jamal Hossan 01 November 2009 F
Casual Bilal F
Casual Yousuf F
Casual Mohamed khokal F
Total 0 64

Food & Beverage Services
CIRM 0015 Salim Abdool Cadder 30 July 2009 F
CIRM 0049 Kalaivanthan Muniandy 10 October 2009 F
CIRM 0067 Moosa Anwar 15 October 2009 M
CIRM 0099 Abdulla Shukuree 20 October 2009 M
CIRM 0101 Ibrahim Mohamed 20 October 2009 M
CIRM 0102 Shiraz Shareef 20 October 2009 M
CIRM 0104 Rommel Garcia Barin 20 October 2009 F
CIRM 0109 K Mudiyanselage Susantha 23 October 2009 F
CIRM 0110 Hussain Faheem Ahmed 23 October 2009 M
CIRM 0112 Ahmed Solih 24 October 2009 M
CIRM 0116 Mohamed Nasheed Ibrahim 25 October 2009 M
CIRM 0117 Ibrahim Shameem Ahmed 25 October 2009 M
CIRM 0119 Mohamed Nazim 25 October 2009 M
CIRM 0121 Ahmed Husnee 25 October 2009 M
CIRM 0129 Marvelous Q.Camangon 28 October 2009 F
CIRM 0130 Eris 31 October 2009 F
CIRM 0131 Andri Mulyadi 31 October 2009 F
CIRM 0133 Hussain Fayaz 30 October 2009 M
CIRM 0266 Ruth A. Calma 01 November 2009 F
CIRM 0163 Shimol Debanath 04 November 2009 F
CIRM 0175 Grace Lee Siew Fun 13 November 2009 F
CIRM 0176 Damera Vikram 11 November 2009 F
CIRM 0180 Mohamed Salim Ullah 11 November 2009 F
CIRM 0184 Nenjahat Haokip 13 November 2009 F
CIRM 0188 Sinta Kartika 17 November 2009 F
CIRM 0189 Y.M.W.Roshan Udurawana 17 November 2009 F
CIRM 0190 A.M.P Supun Alahakoon 17 November 2009 F
CIRM 0193 Mohamed Waheed 20 November 2009 M
CIRM 0218 MD Badiur Rahman Mollah 25 November 2009 F
CIRM 0216 Ernielou Christine P.Salcedo 25 November 2009 F
CIRM 0221 Lao Marlinda Lawrence 30 November 2009 F
CIRM 0222 Ni Putu Eka Susanti 30 November 2009 F
CIRM 0237 Jo Ann Zaballero Ordeneza 17 December 2009 F
CIRM 0274 KD Daminda Ruwan Kumara 29 January 2010 F
CIRM 0058 Emily Hopper 14 October 2009 F
CIRM 0282 Weldy Reviady 15 February 2010 F
CIRM 0287 Mahendra Kumar Moktan 23 February 2010 F
CIRM 0288 Clement Curt Perera 23 February 2010 F
CIRM 0289 Benjie Russell R.Villamejor 23 February 2010 F
CIRM 0292 Ibrahim Mohamed 07 March 2010 M
CIRM 0293 Munawwar Ibrahim 13 March 2010 M
CIRM 0294 Qais Abdul Qadir 15 March 2010 F
CIRM 0295 Saudhullah Ahmed 15 March 2010 M
CIRM 0291 Mohamed Ahmed 20 March 2010 M
CIRM 0298 Roma Flor Buenaobra 20 March 2010 F
CIRM 0299 H.Priyangalakmal Perera 19 March 2010 F
CIRM 0305 Ahmed Ali 04 April 2010 M
CIRM 0306 Jadulla Ali 04 April 2010 M
CIRM 0307 Mohamed Junaid 04 April 2010 M
CIRM 0082 Amal Debnath 15 October 2009 F
CIRM 0317 Ahmed Fahudh 18 April 2010 M
CIRM 0320 Mayur D.Gawli 25 April 2010 F
CIRM 0318 Ma Zaung Nyoi 22 April 2010 F
CIRM 0100 Ali Mohamed Didi 20 October 2009 M
CIRM 0330 Anthony Jeewan 21 May 2010 F
CIRM 0328 Surya Kanwar 19 May 2010 F
Total 21 35

Finance
CIRM 0005 Durga Prasad Pattanaik 01 December 2008 F
CIRM 0017 Punnada Thongjeen 01 August 2009 F
CIRM 0238 DM Sarath Bandara 24 December 2009 F
CIRM 0027 Ahmed Mushthaq 15 September 2009 M
CIRM 0037 Ashok Kumar Swain 01 October 2009 F
CIRM 0241 Handunnetti Palinda Gangadara 25 December 2009 F
CIRM 0039 Narayanan Sathish Kumar 01 October 2009 F
CIRM 0045 Mathew Varghese 07 October 2009 F
CIRM 0240 Naveen Kumar Reddy Billa 01 December 2009 F
CIRM 0229 Ahmed Mohamed 02 December 2009 M
CIRM 0323 A.R.G.K.Kularatne 28 April 2010 F
Total 2 9

Front Office
CIRM 0014 Chaichan Chaida 02 July 2009 F
CIRM 0300 Siriwan Sitayotin 21 March 2010 F
CIRM 0024 Abdullah Hassaan Shareef 09 September 2009 M
CIRM 0047 Ahmed Ali 10 October 2009 M
CIRM 0092 Amy Ho Ming Yen 18 October 2009 F
CIRM 0053 Marlene Simon 13 October 2009 F
CIRM 0066 Mohamed Nadeem 15 October 2009 M
CIRM 0094 Mohamed Ahmed Didi ( MAX) 19 October 2009 M
CIRM 0106 Haruka Taniguchi 22 October 2009 F
CIRM 0122 Noara Ibrahim 25 October 2009 M
CIRM 0029 Mariyam Hana 22 September 2009 M
CIRM 0134 Anushka Krishani Wattage 26 October 2009 F
CIRM 0220 Omar Faruk 26 November 2009 F
CIRM 0230 Hussein Solih 03 December 2009 M
CIRM 0235 Annie David Kalaparambath 13 December 2009 F
CIRM 0256 Susann Seifert 31 January 2010 F
CIRM 0273 Hussain Musthafa Hassan 29 January 2010 M
CIRM 0286 Aishath Nasheedha 22 February 2010 M
CIRM 0302 Mohamed Nasheed Ibrahim 31 March 2010 M
CIRM 0316 Hussain Haroon 19 April 2010 M
CIRM 0096 Ahmed Azim 20 October 2009 M
CIRM0234 Gamlakshage Damantha 13 December 2009 F
Total 12 10

Housekeeping
CIRM 0325 Ramil Millamina Lagos 04 May 2010 F
CIRM 0167 Ahmed Shujau 31 October 2009 M
CIRM 0033 Hassan Latheef 01 October 2009 M
CIRM 0260 Bellanage Chaminda Indika Fernando 25 January 2010 F
CIRM 0034 Ali Naseer Moosa 01 October 2009 M
CIRM 0035 Shamrath Usmaan 01 October 2009 M
CIRM 0036 Hussain Rasheed 01 October 2009 M
CIRM 0028 Namdev 15 September 2009 F
CIRM 0083 Ibrahim Rasheed 15 October 2009 M
CIRM 0084 Mohammed Jahir 15 October 2009 F
CIRM 0085 Siyah Zahir 15 October 2009 M
CIRM 0111 Ahmed Jamsheed 23 October 2009 M
CIRM 0155 Ahmed Zareer 01 November 2009 M
CIRM 0156 Mohamed Siraj 01 November 2009 M
CIRM 0157 Saiful Islam 01 November 2009 F
CIRM 0158 Nurul Islam 01 November 2009 F
CIRM 0159 MD Jomshid Mia 01 November 2009 F
CIRM 0160 Amanulla 01 November 2009 F
CIRM 0191 Hussain Shareef 20 November 2009 M
CIRM 0270 Ahmed Sujau 27 January 2010 M
CIRM 0271 Mohamed Ibrahim 28 January 2010 M
CIRM 0296 Muaz Muhammadh 16 March 2010 M
CIRM 0309 Ahmed Mazahim 06 April 2010 M
CIRM 0303 Ahmed Asim 31 March 2010 M
CIRM 0311 Ahmed Umshad 10 April 2010 M
CIRM 0312 Hassan Waheed 10 April 2010 M
CIRM 0313 Sanaullah 10 April 2010 F
CIRM 0322 Naushad Ibrahim 24 April 2010 M
CIRM 0032 Kulasiri A.Gamage 26 September 2009 F
CIRM 0262 Azgar Ali 15 October 2009 F
CIRM 0087 Ruhul Amin 15 October 2009 F
CIRM 0088 Abdul Mobin 15 October 2009 F
CIRM 0103 Gina Fe Cunanan Barin 20 October 2009 F
CIRM 0331 Zahirul 21 May 2010 F
Total 19 15

SPA
CIRM 0022 Anunya Kumnerdthanaporn 01 October 2009 F
CIRM 0301 Sawwitree Nuan 28 March 2010 F
CIRM 0073 Daranee Kinglek 15 October 2009 F
CIRM 0075 Kedsara Rungmaneetum 15 October 2009 F
CIRM 0076 Ni Kadek Rustini 15 October 2009 F
CIRM 0236 Ni Ketut Warni 22 December 2009 F
CIRM 0078 Panida Intaraksa 15 October 2009 F
CIRM 0079 Panca Yuda Artiningsih 15 October 2009 F
CIRM 0080 Ubon Phimson 15 October 2009 F
CIRM 0081 Sangla Tuansanite 15 October 2009 F
CIRM 0263 Uthai-thip Morayan 15 October 2009 F
CIRM 0153 Kadek Kusuma Dewi 29 October 2009 F
CIRM 0315 Itthiphon Phonyiam 20 April 2010 F
Total 0 13

Security & Transport
CIRM 0026 Gopi Thappa 12 September 2009 F
CIRM 0123 Bharat Bahadur Khadka 25 October 2009 F
CIRM 0124 Uttar Kumar Waiba 25 October 2009 F
CIRM 0194 Maheshwor Paudel 20 November 2009 F
CIRM 0243 Narayan Bahadur Thakuri 22 December 2009 F
CIRM 0250 Arjun Thapa 04 January 2010 F
CIRM 0071 Ahmed Imad 15 October 2009 M
CIRM 0055 Ahmed Waheed 13 October 2009 M
CIRM 0259 Ahmed Ibrahim 24 January 2010 M
CIRM 0261 Ahmed Anees 26 January 2010 M
CIRM 0268 Ali Adam 17 October 2009 M
CIRM 0272 Mohamed Ahmed 29 January 2010 M
CIRM 0319 Hussain Mohamed 22 April 2010 M
Total 7 6

Human Resources
CIRM 0277 Ahmed Nizam 04 February 2010 M
CIRM 0031 Aditya Dilip LAD 26 September 2009 F
CIRM 0278 Shannon Frances Jenkinson 01 February 2010 F
CIRM 0333 Dr Shankar 03 November 2009 F
CIRM 0125 Manoj Bhusel 15 October 2009 F
CIRM 0070 Masud Ali 15 October 2009 F
CIRM 0182 Shaporan 15 October 2009 F
CIRM 0201 Kalu Sing Syangtan 01 November 2009 F
Total 1 7

Male Office
CIRM 0004 Mohamed Didi 01 February 2009 M
CIRM 0283 Ibrahim Waheed 01 February 2010 M
CIRM 0284 Kamarul Hassan 01 February 2010 F
Total 2 1

Total Maldivians 67
Total Foreiners 193
Total Staff 260

Total Maldivians % 25.76923077
Total Foreiners % 74.23076923

Note: “M” Is Maldivian

Shangri-La on strike over a playstation!

the gamesters on strike

Sounds hilarious, but its true! The problem occurred when 4 butlers of the resort were found playing a game on a Playstation console they brought to a vacant room and the security personnel noticed it. The security personnel tried to do a military style investigation using military language like “no body moves…”, “stay where you are” and took photographs of the “crime scene” which irked the gamesters. Things got out of hand when the security chief tried to manhandle one staff when he exited the “Crime scene” which followed heated exchanges and the matter was taken up by the HR which hastily decided to dismiss all the 4 butlers. When staff protested at the unusually harsh measures, all 64 protesting staff were suspended from work which was understood by staff as summary dismissal. The end of the matter is still not in sight and the police have also been called by the resort to thwart imagined threats to property by playstation loving staff! Latest news from the island have it that the big shots from the head office has arrived and consultations with the protesters will be conducted tomorrow morning.

villingili shangri la

Shangrila Villingili


Now it clearly goes beyond the pale of human reasoning as to how a five star resort with a good reputation can become so incomprehensible dealing with youthful staff and the whole situation becomes a full blown strike for what? A playstation game?

Butlers by nature of their job are always supposed at the beck and call of the guests and if the resort does not provide adequate facilities for staff recreation such lax in standard might occur. However, given the harmless nature of their “Crime” and the chain of events that ultimately lead to these drastic measures, calls into question the attitude by the management to the staff. In average low key resorts, owned and managed by the local owner or entrepreneur such “crimes” are common and equally drastic measures against such “crimes” are much more common. However what is NOT common is for big brand names in tourism sector like Shangri La to fall in to childish mistakes and take a hit on their reputation.

destroyed for demanding rights

Even though all resorts have their own small rules-of-engagement books for staff, such rules shall not contravene the labour law of the country. The labour law is very clear in that it allows not summary dismissals unless on very serious issues such as dishonesty, threat to property or life.

Shangri la staff on strike: all because of a playstation!

Honourable mimimum wage killer

Proposing a minimum wage is a good first move our first labour law gave which under the proposed revised new laws might be scrapped as well. The wording of the original 3 clauses in the employment bill were not very helpful or forceful but its a welcome first. However those very same ineffectual clauses were too much of a concession for the workers that the independent MP Honourable Mr. Muttalib saw fit to propose to veto out of existence. Under the proposed amendments to the labour bill, there is no talk about this matter which might mean the minimum wage idea is a goner now. Pity the workers!

We commented in your name…

HR ministry website header

HR ministry website header


Human resources ministry is asking for comments and views from the public to fine tune the existing labor laws. (pls send your comments to comments@employment.gov.mv ) And we have taken the liberty of
commenting about some issues relevant to us the resort workers and sent them in your name. Here below are the comments we have submitted. Do you agree with these comments?

1. Instead of 3 days on the occasion of the birth of the child for the
father and 5 days for the circumcision of the child, these numbers of
days could be swapped so that 5 days is given for the the birth of the
child and 3 days for the circumcision of the child. Because the birth
of a child is a greater event than the circumcision of the child. Then
there shall be some consolation for the girl child as a girl child is
not circumcised. Other wise gender inequality issue might arise.

2. A fine of 5000rf to 10000rf for any violation of any clause of the
labor bill might be something for the small business but we believe
there shall be distinction for the resort owners. Because such figures
mean nothing to an average resort. Managements will not think twice to
re-offend with such paltry figures as fines. Our suggestion is to
raise the figure for the resorts by 10 folds.

3. Clause 19 (5) (haa). “Hingumuge is maqaamu thakugai thibey meehun”
This shall be clarified as resorts over the last few weeks have been
raising the statuses of almost everyone so that the 8 hour work
requirements could be evaded. A better classification for the resorts
could be that the above clause is mean to meant Managers which include division managers and department heads.

4. Service charge distribution detail (for resorts) shall be required
to be sent to the tourism ministry also (in addition to being made available for the staff via public notice board) because currently there is
massive fraud happening in this area. In a typical month on an average resort service charge distribution runs to thousands of dollars and managements has been shamelessly tweaking the figures to mislead the staff. This is all very common in resorts except a tiny minority. By having them report the figures to the ministry they will think twice before tweaking the figures because with such data the ministry could do a
correlation check if fraud is alleged to have happened.

5. Ramzan bonus shall be on a fixed rate and not proportional to the salaries recieved. Because the rate of hunger will be the same for all those who fast regardless of position.

Protests in Chaya (Dhonveli Beach) Resort

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According to local media reports there is indeed a protest going full swing in Chaya Island with the protesting staff calling for the employer to abide by the labour law among the many concerns. The protestors are seeking written assuarances from the management that they would indeed do so which would be a difficult demand since issuing such a writ would be admitting to breaking the law which no employer would willingly do.

Among the various concerns the dissatisfied staff raise are:

  • that the resort pursues a policy of racial discrimination whereby the Sri Lankan staff are said to recieve favourable conditions in work and pay while the rest Indians, Bangladeshis and Maldivians are said to recieve the less than adequate or favourable treatment in comparision.
  • That the management has deliberately filled up all managerial positions in a discriminatory manner and gives no scope for development.
  • That the resort has failed to observe the ratio of expatriate quotas which is a direct violation of labour law.
  • And the protesting expatriate staff have been threatened with dismissals should they continue with the protest.

Chaya Island which used to be Dhonveli Beach Resort is a popular destination for surfers from Australia and has a full year long tourist season which is unlike many resorts in Maldives. Although popular among surfers the resort has had a bad reputation for illtreating staff under various managements. The current management under John Keels group of hotels has done nothing to address this issue and has infact made matters worse by their unflinching stance on improving relations with staff.

Now the govt. is also being accused of non-compliance to labor law

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It’s the same picture that’s being seen in all resorts and now it’s spreading beyond resorts to other places of work. Now it’s Maldives Ports Authority staff who are getting ready to strike because their employer i.e. the government of this country (it’s a wholly owned government company) has refused to comply with the labor law. The staff of MPA has issued a deadline to the management and is awaiting their employer’s response.

In most developed countries worker issues and laws and regulations governing the issues are respected in minimal terms because issues like these are thorny issues which can be used to mobilize masses to achieve anything and there is history behind it. However in Maldives the situation is different. Years of lawlessness has created this mentality in the employers that somehow laws cannot apply to them and any law they do not feel sufficiently pliable accommodating their desires shall be revised and before that rejected. This is exactly what happened in the case of labor law and why MATI is discussing ways with the government to water down the labor law so that it become a useless article for lawyers to argue back and forth. Litigation is costly business and MATI is aware that employees or bodies representing employees (i.e. TEAM) cannot compete with them in money terms.

The many or few privileges or perks the labor law is said to have given to the workers of Maldives is peanuts if compared with what is offered to workers elsewhere and MATI has failed to acknowledged that. For example the 48 hour week which is so resented by MATI and most employers is actually ancient if history is correct. It came only after the 84 hour week and is nothing to boast about. Same goes for public holidays and overtime. The only substantial benefit resort workers stand to gain from the labor law is the requirement that any service charge collected shall be distributed and this requirement has not been honored by >90% of the employers.

TEAM press release

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Ref:T.E.A.M/005/2008

Tourism employees association of Maldives (T.E.A.M)

PRESS RELEASE

The constitution of the Republic of Maldives and the laws and regulations under it should be followed by all persons living in the Maldives. Therefore, not abiding by the Laws and regulations is perceived by this Association as a gross violation.

The Association strongly condemns all the activities by Maldives Association of Tourism Industry (MATI) to restrain and denigrate the efforts by the employees of resorts in Maldives to gain their rights due to their exclusion from the Employment Law. The employees of resorts are working for their rights with patience and responsibility, doing so within the limitations of the legal framework.

This Association sadly denotes that till present, MATI has not made any efforts for the rights of the thousands of Maldivian employees working in resorts. Whilst this has been the situation, the current policy of MATI is to restrain, in any way possible, the efforts by the employees of the tourism sector to obtain their rights. As MATI has not made any efforts towards creating qualified employees to work in resorts in its 25 years of existence, this is a clear indication of the lack of concern by MATI for the employees of resorts.

In relation to the allegations made against this Association by MATI on the 18th of November (Ref: MATI/RH/205/2008), we would like to point out that this Association was also established under the same laws and regulations as MATI. Therefore, MATI does not have any higher legal status than T.E.A.M, even though the actions of MATI give the impression that it has some special privileges.

Further, regarding the circular of MATI to its member’s dated the 2nd of December, 2008 (Ref: MATI/XX/246/2008), it is not a crime to stop work in peaceful protest when the employer at a work place does not follow the laws. Even if MATI views it as illegal, the laws of Maldives do not forbid the right to strike. And hence, T.E.A.M calls upon MATI to further review the laws and regulations thoroughly. Meanwhile, it is a right of every employee to do everything he could if and when he feels his rights stipulated under the Maldives Labour Law have been violated. However, MATI described the peaceful protests for employees’ rights by some resort employees as violence. Despite MATI’s view, T.E.A.M believes that the protests were in accordance with the right to strike stipulated within the threshold of the Maldivian laws.

T.E.A.M does not perceive that tourism sector employees are entitled to special immunities and privileges. However, following the initiatives of T.E.A.M, the Maldives government has acknowledged the need for further advancement of tourism sector employees.

TEAM notes that the Press Release issued by the Labour Relations Authority was issued without proper investigation and misleading. The reality is, during the past seven months, T.E.A.M has held several meetings with all relevant authorities, lobbying to amend the Employment Act, and urging resorts to comply with the Law. Furthermore, T.E.A.M has on several occasions appealed to resorts to comply with the Employment Act.

In addition to this, on 8th of October 2008, T.E.A.M filed complaints against the resorts that were not complying with the Law to the Labour Relations Authority. In response to this (NO: L-2008/4629), Labour Relations Authority ensured that it would take the necessary steps required to address this issue. However, T.E.A.M regrets that whilst different resorts interpret the Act differently and are not complying with it, the Labour Relations Authority did not make appropriate interventions. In this regard, some parties regard speed boat crew as seamen.

T.E.A.M notes that the formation of a Labour Tribunal is still pending, while the institution should have been formed months ago.

In the MDP’s News Conference following the Reethi Rah work stoppage, the address by three parliamentarians of the Party contradicted the viewpoints they expressed in the Parliament. These parliamentarians actively participated in protests, and spoke in favour of protests in the Majlis. While these parliamentarians have also described the current constitution as the “constitution of protest”, the comments made in the above mentioned Press Conference that the Reethi Rah work stoppage was politically motivated leaves their integrity in question. T.E.A.M perceives this comment as prioritising their own interest above that of ours. We deny this allegation by MDP.

On this occasion, T.E.A.M would like to assure that without standing back, we shall do whatever is required to achieve the rights of tourism sector employees.

December 16, 2008

Kurumba Village “loyalty” bribe

kvOn every 5th of the month the employees in Kurumba Village receives a sealed envelope containing money the amount of which is different for different people. The only people who are excluded from this generosity are the executives. This new found generosity to KV staff by their employer is understood to be nothing but bribery says critics who point out that since the labor law came to effect nothing substantial has changed in Kurumba and nothing is likely to change. The envelope labeled “loyalty” is effectively bribing staff not to strike or demand their rights which is perfectly understandable from some employers who would find it difficult to be honest and upright.
The much overused marketing catch line for Kurumba Village from times immemorial has been to allude to the first great days of tourism in Maldives and how Kurumba village was the first and the best. Nothing could be farther from truth. For a start the first days of tourism in Maldives were anything but great. The first group of tourist were in fact a band of nature terrorists who came to Maldives armed complete with angler’s gear including fish guns (which are banned in Maldives since) and looking for a place to strip and look like zombies. If being first was an honor than indeed Kurumba is entitled to that but there are lots of positive points to Kurumba as well.
Strictly from the point of view of the average local resort worker Kurumba is a transit hotel. It’s someplace the guests as well as staff move to other places with memories and experiences respectfully. The clientele of Kurumba would mostly be the toughest and most demanding of the bunch hence resoluteness and good service to the guests is only asked and given. Most of the guests who would have spent time in Kurumba would have wholeheartedly recommend Kurumba to their friends and kudos for Kurumba for that. One other positive point for Kurumba is its proximity to Male’ and the ease of transfer to and from Male’ to the island. This is the reason why there are employees in Kurumba who have toiled 10 to 18 years and still find Kurumba a good place to work for despite all that is wrong with Kurumba.
The cons of being a Kurumba employee are as many as the pros are few. For a start the abusive behavior of the management towards rank and file staff is famous in its notoriety. The reason for this is the influence and power the Kolige clan wielded in the former government and to a large extent is still the case. They are simply untouchable and beyond reproach or criticism. There is no question of dialogue or discourse or discussions. The orders come from above and no dissent or even a rational objection is tolerated. Bereft of any recourse to justice, staff toiled in these islands of Universal Group in the truest sense of a transit hotel.
Then there is the case of differentiation of meals and accommodation and its all but public knowledge that staff accommodation blocks for “room boys” and “waiters” were often referred as animal dens such as “bakari koshi” or “himaaru koshi”. Although not officially sanctioned these names are known to staff and the management unrepentantly uses these phrases in daily discourse. Even as such amenities as hot water and air conditioned rooms for staff became standard facilities for staff everywhere in resorts in Maldives, Kurumba remained the exception until very recently. In short Kurumba village despite its vainglorious history is one of the best and worst hotels to work for in Maldives. Best if the position held by the employee is a managerial position. Worst if the position of the employee is a low semi skilled job. What is at fault is not the resort but the mindset of the management that runs it.

When all the resorts follow the labor law to the letter and spirit…

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What would happen if the this were to happen? Would indeed this happen and who would benefit most? These are all important questions easier to be asked than to be answered as is the case with most questions that are answerable. As for the fact that the law is binding and compliance is required is a mere statement on paper. What is supposed to happen is for the employers to find fault with the law (as had already happened) and find ways to water down the law to suit them. This is nothing new. Rule of law is applicable to the masses. To the elites same law would have to be customized to suit their needs. Hence MATI with its loyal fat business clientèle has summoned their fat legal team and are said to be discussing changes to labor law. One should not be too much surprised if they have it their way because there is very little awareness in the public about how serious the implications of these issues will be.

In the short term all resort managements will do their part in conforming to labor law provisions some with obvious signs of feet dragging while others taking things in their stride. Those resorts who would not find much difficulty implementing the law requirements would mostly be the big already reputed to be good to staff resorts such as W, Four Seasons, Banyan Tree etc. What that is easier for these resorts to adjust is the portion of service charge to staff of which they were distributing a bigger percentage to staff than the other resorts which are renown for notoriety to staff such as Universal group resorts and Villa and Champa group resorts. These resorts would have to find ways to adjust their accounts to where service charge was involved as service charge is to be wholly distributed staff by law.

As for the other requirements such as the 48 hour week all the talk that was then prevalent is now reversed by a turn of 180 degrees. The industry bosses had predicted that the resorts would have to take on additional staff to comply with time restrictions of the law which at present seems not to be the case. In fact most Human Resources departments in resorts are now compiling lists of redundant staff citing compliance to labor law requires them to cut cost which means job cuts .

Whatever will be will be and the coming weeks and months will show where the industry heading. In the bigger picture the prospects doesn’t seem to be all sad and gloomy as compliance to labor laws will inevitably force some unwilling hands of the tourism industry from the economic slavery they have been subjecting our fellow resort workers for some long long time.

The problem in Meedhupparu.

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The main points raised by the ongoing protest in Meedhuparu are:
• Discrimination against staff: this is a true and a real issue and needs to be addressed. Part of the problem seems to the wayward mentality of the management still stuck somewhere between 1900 and 2000bc. In a work environment staff shall not be discriminated on the basis of religion ethnicity or race color etc. etc. those who are successful in this industry as resort owners know this problem and have grown out of these bad ‘habits’. For example the salary distribution in Meedhuparu is ludicrous if it’s viewed in right context with foreign exchange rate set as 10rf inside the resort which is clearly criminal offense if this comes to that. On top of that how hard is it to do math with exact exchange rate of 12rf to 1$? Are the accountants somehow finding it difficult to do arithmetic? No calculators or computers in Meedhuparu? Why does expat gets 200$ while the local gets 2000rf. Is it so hard to multiply 200$ to 12.75 and get 2550? If the Meedhuparu accountant should find this much of mathematics difficult then please contact me immediately! I am always ready to help. Lol
• Compliance to labor law seems to be a sizeable problem to all resorts in Maldives with few known exceptions like Bandos. But if it’s clearly warranted by law is there any choice other than compliance? Besides what exactly are the sticking points the management of Meedhuparu seems to be stuck about? On the one hand the management is giving all the right signals that they are doing compliance and on the other hand they are refusing even to discuss legitimate points raised by the staff where compliance is seen to be lacking. The current management thinking in Meedhuparu is to stick by known routine procedures to address issues which roughly mean compliance by staff to management’s whims and tantrums and talk good ethics from high pedestals disregarding the issues raised by staff. This is not a unique problem to Meedhuparu. Every other resort in Maldives seems to have got stuck in this thinking and is a becoming a real stumbling block to progress. The correct thinking should be to be able to meet the challenge wherever it arise, to address the issue however it comes, to throw away this old fashioned thinking that somehow resort workers are little school boys who can be bribed with sweets! Am I right? Or wrong?
• Mr. Mahdy who speaks on behalf of Meedhuparu management is adamant that staff cannot demand removal of certain persons from managements and it’s quite true. There are things people can demand and things people cannot. But strikes and demonstrations are not exactly learnt from school text books and the formulas of strikes are not accurate. Nor are they meant to be. It’s easy to get into rational educated discourse with people individually and profit from that. But to talk to a group of people collectively is quite another thing. The reasons seems to be that the output of such a talk or conversation would be average of the groups thinking, the average of rationalizing process inside their individual minds and the sum total of the strength of their vocal chords (measured in dbs of course..) etc. (I am still formulating the exact parameters of this theory…) lol. So in short there is nothing staff cannot demand especially if they are claiming constitutional rights!
• The striking staffs are also complaining about the quality of food and accommodation which is a very much relative thing as everyone has his or her personal preference when this comes to that. But the trick to crack this problem is not to introduce more tuna chunks to the curry bowl. The trick is in simple things… first to listen to what the staff really needs. To ask the staff how to save money and how best to economize and yet utilize resources fully. Most of the resorts in Maldives fall to this pitfall of not listening to staff and seeking advice from them. The staff if they are appreciated or made to feel so would help greatly as most staff bring about them much experience from their past employers and would be only too happy to join the decision making process. But there is one problem common to almost all resorts in Maldives which is the language barrier. Most locals of this country are quite a happy people and finds school text books a chore to go through! So poor English maybe hamper effective communication but this same problem is also applicable to Sri Lankans who are the de facto management of Meedhuparu. So as every local knows who have fallen in with a Japanese guest recently it’s not all about language. The relationship will bloom and blossom if the will is there. If it’s done from the heart…not some polite nothings from the tip of the tongue!
• The resort being managed by Sri Lankan team it’s understandable that the management somehow might think they are somehow immune to criticism especially with regards to the close connections they enjoyed under the former regime and warm and cozy relations with the then minister Dr Shaugy but where criticism deemed necessary it’s justifiable. As is the case now. This attitude to staff and the thinking of being untouchable is very bad for business and those who are to score or to get score points from these protests need to take heed from this. An era has passed, a new government is in place and old connections to tourism ministry are not as strong as it was. Yes I am talking about being able to bribe the tourism minister and high society will be a little bit difficult now for many reasons.