TEAM press release

team-logo
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

Advertisements

Resort workers strike updates:

First it was Reethi Rah resort staff followed by Anantara staff in solidarity with them, next comes Medhuparu staff all demanding basically that the resorts follow the rule of law. Quite simple eh?
But the managements of these resorts don’t seem to agree.
Here are some points to ponder:
• At anantara the HR has teamed up with Universal Group to get clarifications of the various points of the law basically because the HR is headed by an expat (expats are more cautious when it comes to matters of law and rightly so…) but the point here is that as one of the most reputed staff friendly resort as Anantara is they have chose then worst possible partner to discuss staff issues. Universal Resorts Group is renown for its notoriety to staff and Anantara stands to loose from such collaborations at least in reputation.
• W Maldives by far the best employer in terms how much service charge they can pay to staff also has agreements with Universal Group as they have lease agreements of 2 islands from the group but w Maldives doesn’t seem to be as fond of asking clarification of every clause of law from Universal Group lawyers. Y?
• Compared to Anantara Bandos Island is basically a one man job with Mr. Waheedu Deen as the owner and yet Bandos has preempted compliance to the labor law even before the law came in force. While Anantara boasts many hotel properties worldwide it is still struggling to follow through compliance to labor law.
• The 8 hours work to be deduced from a clause of the labor law was interpreted by Anantara lawyers as meant to mean 8 hours work exclusive of meal times and rest times etc etc. if this same logic is applied to all ranges of work in equal measure to resort workers, some workers will fail to do their 8 hours work no matter how hard they try. Take for example the case of telephone operator. If work is meant in this case the time spent in work then a telephone operator’s work consists of talking on phone and call timers in pabx system will be the best indicator of the work he or she did on a particular shift or day. Now it remains to be seen whether an average size resort’s operator can talk 8 hours call time in 24 hours! I doubt this.
• Although Anantara management like all managements reiterate that they don’t temper with service charge its simply not true… like Gayoom said. Lol. The proof lies in 2 staff meetings where the management said they would have to deduct some monies from service charge for damages caused by staff (1 was the case of a flat screen tv which was broken by construction staff, another was a time when some monies were stolen from a guest room).
Many more points to come…
Send ur comments and happy reading!