Brands in the country

Here are some resort brand names in the country. Some resorts like Gaakoshibee by Mariot, Kandooma by Holiday Inn are working against time to finish the construction project to open the resort in earnest by 2010 or earlier. Still there are re-branded resorts like Zitahli and Adaaran which is only a name change and nothing else.

Alila Villas Hadaha
Anantara Boduhuraa, Dhigufinolhu, Veligandu huraa, Kihaavah (shortly opening)
Banyan Tree Ihuru & Vabbinfaru & Madivaru &  velavaru:
Best Western Madoogali
Centara Machafushi
Club Med Kani
Como Hotels and Resorts Cocoa (Makunufushi)
Constance Moofushi & Halaveli
Four seasons Landaa Giraavaru & Kuda Huraa:
Hilton Irufushi & Rangali
Holiday Inn Kandooma & Holiday Inn Male’
Jumeirah (opening in 2010) Bolifushi / Meradhoo
Kerzner ReethiRah
Marriot (opening in 2011) Gaakoshibee
Naide Dhidhoofinolhu
Robinson Club Funamaudda (huvandhumaafushi)
Shangri La Vilingili
Sheraton Fullmoon:
Six senses Kunfunadhoo (Sonevafushi) &laamu & Gili
Taj (coral now vivanta) & Emboodhoo finolhu (exotica)
W Fesdu
Waldof Astoria -Beach House Manafaru
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Discriminating against workers

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On discrimination the new labor law is very clear. It is prohibited. Here is the text.

“4. (a) It is prohibited to discriminate amongst persons carrying out equal work either in the granting of employment, determination of remuneration, increase in remuneration, provision of training, determination of conditions and manner of employment, dismissal from employment or resolution of other employment related matters, based on race, color, social standing, religion, political beliefs or affiliation with any political party, sex, marital status, family obligations, and in so far as it does not contravene the provisions herein age or disability. ”

As its in human nature to find ways to evade a disagreeable thing so is the case of discrimination even as it is prohibited by law, most resorts are finding ways to evade the law and find breaches in law to contravene it. The extent of discrimination amongst workers is quantifiable and is proven. And the ways of discrimination are quite different from what is popularly perceived. For most of the world workers discrimination would happen on color and sex. The whites get more and the girls get less. Tourism industry in Maldives seems to be no exception to this trend although this is an arguable position. Discrimination on pay among color lines is never attributed to color but is always defended with the assertion that expatriates were sought when locals were unavailable and once they are sought they have their say in dictating terms. In theory this seems to be plausible but in reality it is much more complicated than that. And it’s a long story that should be brought to light. Hopefully we will write on this very soon in this blog.

A case in point in lots of resorts in Maldives is the alignment of the management to a certain nationality and the love lost among other employees of the resort who do not fall in to favored nationality. In Universal Groups resorts the fondness and general benevolence is mostly to Sri Lankans as the owners of that group identify themselves with their close relationships and connections in Sri Lanka. The recent entries to the resort market in Maldives from Sri Lankan hoteliers John Keels and Eitken Spence is reputed to be a little bit overzealous in this respect. The same can be said of Taj resorts who seems to be forever trapped in the pioneering history days of the Taj founders and medieval India. Enter the Italians with their “club” conception of resorts and everyone is frowned upon if not Italian. Yes they would rather not have even the British as guests if their fellow countrymen could be found. Enter Banyan Tree and Bandos and everyone except Maldivians are automatically disqualified. And the list goes on and its an interesting trend to observe.

BUT: interesting or not, the law of the land shall be observed. The law is clear that there shall be no discrimination against workers based on the qualifications in the relevant clause.

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.