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..
As a general rule, there are two ways to construct staff buildings in resorts. The first and the mostly followed rule is just to construct a shed like structure which can house any form of living thing, be it cattle or human beings. The structure is designed with only one consideration in the mind, which is lessening the cost of the building and nothing else. The second way is to understand staff as an investment and design accommodation buildings accordingly. The second way is enthusiastically being taken up by new resorts by top brands such as Six senses Laamu which will be opening their first affordable resort for down market come next on-season which will start about October 2010. Resort islands being severely limited in land area, needs to come up with innovative approaches to tackle the issue of accommodation and one such innovative idea is to construct more floors per building than just constructing a one storied shed. With proper landscaping a 2 or 3 floor building can be concealed so as not to impose on the scenery of the island.
Some pics of staff accommodations being constructed in some new resorts
All resorts in Maldives with very few exceptions are self contained islands where from electricity to water and food to everything else is either produced or supplied by the island and self sustained in a manner quite unique. So is the case with staff who are lodged in staff accommodation blocks mostly in inconspicuous places in the middle or corner of the island while the guests have their villas spread across the lagoon or beach or both. With restrictions to limit built-up area, most resorts do indeed have a problem of staff accommodation which might range from staff having to share 6 or 8 or even 10 in an average sized room to having to stack beds 3 or 4 rows vertically up! Besides the fun of having to live in these conditions and the constant pressure from the superiors at work to perform ever so better and greater on and off duty, at the end of the day the tired and worn out staff would again have to face another adventurous night and the monotony continues.
The few lucky resorts who have dedicated staff islands or arrangements to accommodate staff on nearby inhabited islands fare somewhat better being able to provide some job satisfaction in this area for the staff. One another real big issue in staff accommodation seems to be is disparity in quality of accommodation despite terrible limitations of land whereby the all powerful management gets pavilions and mansions sometimes better accommodation than the guests.
Ideally all resort employees shall have private rooms by themselves however scantily the furnishing should have been. Alternatively the same job satisfaction could be delivered if regular staff ferries from resort to Male’ could be arranged so that the local staff would have maximum time with their families and yet be able to work in the resort. This would apply to the majority of the resort islands closer to Male’ and to the majority of the local staff who by law are required to constitute half the population of any resort.