Tourism workers gain employment rights

Wednesday, 8 October 2008 14:12

A bill approved by the People’s Majlis today which will guarantee several rights claimed by employees working in the tourism sector will halt a mass strike planned for tomorrow. The bill was passed today in the first meeting of the third session of the People’s Majlis after adding 5 more amendments proposed during the meeting today. The amendments have restricted maximum 48 hours work per week for these employees, payment of over time for work exceeding 48 hours, 1/3 extra payment for the Holy month of Ramazan, Reducing probation period from 6 months to 3 months and include employees working in tourist vessels for entitlement of these benefits.

Five amendments out of 9 amendments proposed in the meeting were approved. Out of these five amendments, one was proposed by Male’ member and SLP presidential candidate Ibrahim Ismail, two by Addu member Ibrahim Shareef and two by Addu member Mohamed Aslam. Aslam and Ibra proposed four more proposals regarding the rights and benefits for employees working in tourism other industries and sectors but they were rejected by the Majlis.

The bill was submitted to the Majlis after studying and revising by the Committee of the Majlis, but Committee Chair Ibrahim Shareef said when he briefed members on how the bill was revised, said there was only one amendment in the bill when it was proposed by the government on 1 July 2008. He said during the process of the committee, there was extensive discussions with Maldives Association for Tourism Industry, MATI, Tourism Employees Association of Maldives, TEAM, Maldives Association for Construction Industry, MACI, Maldives National Defence Force, Ministry of Higher Education and Employment, and Ministry of Tourism. Shareef said the bill has addressed concerns of tourism and other industries and that has resulted in more amendments being included in the bill.

During the debate when members proposed additional amendments, they expressed concern on many important rights which have been left in the committee revision these members thus proposed more amendments. They said it is important to incorporate these amendments in the bill in order to address the benefits and rights employees are asking for. They said it is a matter of disappointment these important issues have not been accepted by the Majlis, and there is no solution to them unless people affected by these injustices get so frustrated and take to street protests and demonstration.

Today’s meeting was extended till 2 pm in order to complete the bill. The bill with the 5 additional amendments approved in the meeting was passed by a majority of votes out of 28 members present at the time of voting. 2 members voted against and one abstained.

The meeting was the first in the history of the Majlis to be broadcast live by 2 radio channels, DhiFM and AtollTV. The meeting was presided by Speaker Mohamed Shihab who also voted on two proposals deliberated today, one on the nomination of Saud Ibrahim for Anti Corruption Commission for which he cast a no vote and for Ibra’s amendment on 48 hour working week for employees for which he cast a yes vote.

Related News:
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Tourism Association To Sue Four Seasons Over Strike Threat
Resorts warning staff of disciplinary action should they participate in the 5th October strike
Travel advisory alert - strike in Maldives
Tourism employees strike: Is it necessary?
Tourism Employees Threaten Strike On 5 October

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