Seven Manufaru Resort Employees Fired After Strike

Monday, 10 November 2008 07:59

Seven employees at Manufaru resort say they were fired after going on strike over a failure to gain new rights enshrined in law, according to the Tourism Employees Association Maldives (TEAM).

More than 50 members of staff at the resort stopped work on Sunday to protest after the resort managers failed to implement new basic rights of workers, including minimum wage and maximum working hours.

According to staff, around 20 police officers came to the island around 9.30pm to “escort” the seven employees who had been fired off the island.

The resort is owned by Sun Travel, a company headed by Ahmed Shiyam, a vice president of the ruling Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP).

One of the employees told Minivan News that resort managers had said they did not have to follow Maldivian law and told him to leave, after staff stopped work from 6am on Sunday.

They were fired at 7.30pm, he said, with managers threatening to dismiss more staff if the strike continued.

“A manager said if you are unhappy then there is a 300 m jetty: just leave. He said he did not have to follow the Maldivian law. He was not instructed by the company to do this. No one had told him to do so,” the same source said.

Ahmed Easa, President of the Tourism Employees Association Maldives, has repeatedly called for the implementation of provisions in the Employment Act, ratified earlier this year.

“What can I say? People have not got their rights, this government has failed justice. Labour law is a mockery.. Workers are not getting their rights,” he said.

Following a two-year drafting process, the 2008 Employment Act was passed by parliament in April and ratified by the President on 26 May.

It introduced a minimum wage, a limit to weekly working hours and new institutions to resolve employment-related disputes. But by the terms of the Act, resort staff were exempted.

After media highlighted their exclusion, it was termed an unfortunate mistake by legal reform minister Mohamed Nasheed. Yet the act was not amended before it came into effect in July.

In response, tourism employees took steps towards forming a union and registered TEAM to represent staff from the sector.

After months of petitioning and threats to strike, TEAM was promised resort staff would gain labour rights through the new amendment, which passed in parliament on 6 October.

Manafaru resort representatives were unavailable for comment.

Source: minivannews.com

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