At last TEAM website is up… long live the employees

team website pic
After a long long wait the website of the Tourism Employees Association of Maldives is up and is doing just great. Congrats and best wishes for the good people of TEAM who have gone through much and still does a lot for the employees of the industry.
We have added a link to the site under the links section.

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Protests against Yacht Tours in Hulhudhoo

Protests in Hulhudhoo

The ever so peaceful islanders of Hulhudhoo have decided to protest at Yacht Tours for mismanaging their resort Handhufushi and they are reported to have said to continue their protest until the resort is handed over to MTDC. The grievances of the islanders is mainly about financial wheelings and dealings of Yacht Tours which is proverbial in nature for their inconsistency and the seasoned people of Addu are no strangers to tourism.
For their part the Yatch Tours maintains that the protests are politically motivated and the monies owed by Yatch Tours to local business people will be paid very shortly.

Our protest at the massacre in Gaza

A rocket designer?
A rocket designer?

This is our protest at the on going massacre in Gaza where up to now more than 850 civilians are now known to have died. This is despite the world fully watching and aware of the problem and the great powers of the world fully supporting the aggressor. And even if a full blown massacre is not enough, the US congress felt the urgency to adopt a resolution “recognizing Israel’s right to defend itself against attacks from Gaza” as if they have not used this so called right.
The reason for this on going massacre has very little to do with religion and much to do with land. Hamas is blamed for throwing rockets which is supposed to have started this war which is actually a form of protest if the numbers are weighed. Hamas is elected by popular vote and the only problem with Hamas is that they do not recognize the state of Israel. They have very good reason for that as Israel is the only country in the world which doesn’t have defined boarders to call their own. Israel has never defined their boarders and never accepted boarders assigned by UN after the Arab Israeli war of 1967. So Hamas is in a difficult position to accept a “country” which was created by force on Palestine which doesn’t have boarders.

As the war on Gaza continues there are reports of war crimes being committed by IDF which is nothing new and has never come to anything in the past because of the stubbornness of the USA in defending Israel no matter what. UN has called for an investigation into why more than 100, mostly women and children were corralled into a house by IDF and just 24 hours later that house was shelled repeatedly by IDF which left more than 30 people dead mostly children and women.

Our prayers are with the brave people of Gaza who have suffered so much under the watch of the world powers who are so blind to the atrocities of Israel, who quickly labels every fallen Gazan a rocket maker or a bomb thrower.

Here is a link showing the martyred baby on the fliers calling for demonstration in Male’ day before yesterday. His name is Iman Hijo.

http://www.islamonline.net/English/In_Depth/GazaHolocaustMuseum/topic_01/15.shtml#

Wage delayed is wage denied

counting_money1

The problem of delayed wages is common in some resorts in Maldives and its nothing but a nuisance. What would happen in the majority of the cases would be that the delays could be attributed the clumsiness of accounting department or that some or other manager whose signature is required on the payroll is somehow out of the country etc. There is no end to excuses of the like and yet regrettably in this age and time the problem still persists. The problem is more prevalent in some resorts such as those owned or managed by the resort owners who have had or who has some connections to the government (in some point of time) and who base their assumptions on murky deals and the likes hence the jittery finance affects the payroll and the negative publicity which ensues.

Taken one at a time, the case against accounts departments being clumsy, this is the easy way out for shirking responsibility and is a well known tactic by management when pressed for pay by rank and file workers. The accounts people normally very arithmetical by nature do thankless job entering information, editing and checking and poring over figures for trends etc and the monotony of the work never breaks as long as the resort is run. Interesting practices such as using standard calculators to get the grand total of a list displayed on an excel sheet is all too common in the average accounts department of many a resort in Maldives and is especially true of bespectacled expatriate accountants who had seen times before the advent of calculators. Even if the accounts dept are top notch whiz kids of computers, modern day nuisances such as computer viruses could play havoc with office computers and the payroll could be a work undone in a matter of seconds.

Authorization of payroll is no mean task and it’s always required that a person worthy of name be present to sign the many thousand of dollars which would be deposited to the staff’s accounts or given in cash. Even so hilarious episodes such as paying in dollars instead of rufiyaa to ordinary boat crews (3000$) and the cashiers racing to catch the lucky ones before they vanish to think air are all too memorable and makes working in tourism industry so much fun. The whole point is that the required signature authorizing the payroll is just a formality and yet this bane of a formality is many times the cause of much anguish as staff wait for their much awaited pay braving the many angry calls demanding money by angrier families back home. It’s all in a days work in resorts and it happens all too common.

It can safely be said that up to now no resort in Maldives had reported that they didn’t have money to pay for the staff. They have had and always had or there were ways to pay up and resolve the issues of wage but what gets a resort or an employer a bad reputation in this issue is nothing but irresponsibility and carelessness.

Stabbing at Kurumba

kurumbaaerial

Reports of a local being stabbed by an Indian colleague has been received but the details are sketchy. The incident seems to have been about an argument between colleagues which somehow came to blows and inadvertently stabbing. The attack is not life threatening and the victim is said to be receiving health care and recuperating well. However the management is said to have taken sides in being sympathetic to the expatriate in true tradition of Universal Group policies which enraged the local staff who demanded that the attacker be handed over to police for questioning. The police were contacted by the staff while the management of the island did everything possible to prevent police from conducting their investigation by refusing approval for police boat to come ashore. However police was finally left with no choice but to come ashore despite the resort’s approval because some staff have threatened unspecified action if the attacker was let scott free. The police did conduct their investigation and the attacker is said to have been taken to Male’ for further questioning.

The main points in the whole episode in which the staff are voicing concern are:

That the resort is going miles in its way to protect the expatriate downplaying the offense while had the same action been attribute to a local staff he or she would have been behind bars in a matter of minutes.

That the management is highly abusive of the staff and this is not secret in Universal Group resorts. Standard greeting by manager of the resort to rank and file staff would consist of swearing or such street talk. Verbal abuse to staff is taken for granted in Kurumba and all Universal Group resorts. Talking politely or respectfully or courteously is obviously not Universal style.

That the resort is still relying on pulling strings in government to have things done their way irrespective of the legality of the actions. Here in this particular situation the resort has clearly hampered police work on an assault case which is nothing but obstruction of justice.

Universal Group resorts are not exactly new to controversies and it is not likely that their resorts would see much improvement in staff relationships as long as the owners of the resort fail to come out of the mindset of the abusive employer and embrace modern staff friendly management practices. The reason being that the cozy relationship that existed between the government and the Group was conducive for abuse and nothing seems to have changed.

MATI scaremongering… again.

MATI the elitist business men’s club is again at it. Scaremongering which seems to be the best tool at its disposal right now. The issue is the global financial crisis and despite MATI’s own admission that the required research is still to be done, they are claiming that that recession has already come to Maldives. MATI has good reasons to do this. The most important reason being that at the time of transition of government from President Gayoom to President Nasheed MATI was found to have been pouring money into President Gayoom’s campaign and was on the loosing side of the issue. Now that President Nasheed is in office MATI is desperately trying to repair the political damage their old affiliation with the old regime has caused hence the scaremongering… Although the tactic might work with the ill informed public and to some extent the pliant media, such tactics would not go unnoticed by the new regime in Theemuge. Nor will the top echelons of MDP be likely to forget who backed them and who worked to undermine them.

To some extent the effects of global recession might be felt in tourism industry in Maldives but there is one small consistent advantage to Maldives because of the size of the country. Its only logical to assume that big countries with bigger industries will suffer most in the recession and smaller countries like Maldives could expect the few and chosen of the world’s rich. To complement this its a fact that most of the resorts in Maldives are designed and geared for the top to middle portions of client’s affluence. However the disadvantage of being small balances the little advantage of being small. That is while big countries might be affected more by the economic woes, so will they have more of absorbing capacity of the shock which smaller countries won’t have.

So overall there is lots of calculations to be done and appropriate fine tunings in the tourism industry will do lots of good to offset some of the woes. Basically what has to happen is that the marketing and reservations desks of the resorts has to come out of their collective day dreams and instead of warming comfortable big executive chairs, they have to do some actual marketing of suns and sands of Maldives. Years of economic growth has spoiled marketing departments boys and girls across the country and made them couch potatoes doing nothing except chatting and blogging in office time. The party has to end reality has to be faced. And the reality is grim. MATI is out there with a 1.6m$ budget to scare to new novice government and the outcome will be lesser rights for the workers and lesser privileges whilst greater say in everything for the few elite businessmen and zilch for the rest of us.