Stop strikes in tourism industry says the newly formed tribunal at the labor ministry. So says Tourism Employees Association president Easa and so says almost everyone. Even the self proclaimed shameless Tourism Workers Union which is representing anything but the tourism workers is singing the same tune. But should they be listened to? Are they justified in preaching peace when the change is in the air? Lets take a closer look at the issue in question.
Although the majority of tourism workers in Maldives are young they are not staging demonstrations and calling strikes for fun. There are real issues which they are raising and most of the issues they raise are solvable and realistic issues. Political opportunism has not yet entered the fray although the momentum is there. Examples of issues the workers raise include the all important service charge (fair distribution of which), improvement on food and accommodation and sometimes pure drinking water. Then of course there is the odd demand or two of a few dismissals who most of the time would have been a management person who openly advocated against the wishes of the protesting staff. These being the kinds of issues the protesters raise lets see why these issues rarely comes to discussion between management and staff which in theory would have eliminated the need to strike and loose a little bit of reputation of the hotel as well as a few badly needed reservations..
As all those who urge the tourism industry workers to refrain from staging strikes and demonstrations reiterate, the way forward shall be with negotiations be it directly with the management of the involved resort or with government agencies as third parties who seems to have found a new fondness of brokering peace between these two classes. The way forward indeed is through dialogue and not confrontation but this is strictly in the realm of theory and abstract academics. In real terms if an employee or a group of employees appraoach the management of any resort management in the Maldives with a list of demands, propositions or even a few ideas to discuss the probability that the group or the person will be fired the next day is very great. The most optimistic probability would be greater than 50% which is not an acceptable risk most workers are willing to take. Hence the idea of strikes or demonstrations become more attractive than talking politely or begging blithely. So aswell as urging the workers to refrain from staging strikes the peace making lobby shall criticize the managements of resorts to trim their collective egoes and be a little bit democratic in their ways of thinking. This unfortunately does not seems to be happening and is indicative of how out of touch with reality the preaching lobby is.