Maldives First Labour Tribunal Established

Tuesday, 30 December 2008 11:04

Minivan News

The Maldives first ever labour tribunal was established on Monday with the mandate of enforcing the labour rights enshrined in the Employment Act.

The creation of a labour tribunal was stipulated in the Employment Act which came into force on 13 October.

But failure to establish the tribunal at the same time led to employers and employees accusing each other of breaching the Act, which includes a number of first-time rights such as a minimum wage and a limit to weekly working hours.

The tribunal comes after a series of strikes in November calling for the implementation of labour rights as per the Employment Act.

Most notably a strike involving over 250 employees from One and Only Reethi Rah, which turned sour when up to 50 riot police came to the island to remove 13 of the dismissed staff.

Hussain Shameem, one of the members of the tribunal, said he believed fewer people would now resort to going on strike as a method of voicing their concerns.

“Hopefully there will be a place for people to come and make themselves heard. What happened in Reethi Rah was because they didn’t have another avenue to go down.”

Another member, Ibrahim Riffath, said the tribunal’s objective was to “seek solutions for all employment related issues”.

Up till now, he explained, individuals had to file cases with the civil court which could take “months or years” for a result.

“But now the tribunal is set up its main function is to see ensure the procedure is expedited,” he said.

Even though Mauroof Zaki, vice-president of Tourism Employees Association Maldives, was pleased the tribunal had been established, he expressed scepticism as to its effectiveness because of a number of ambiguous clauses in the Employment Act.

“For sure it’s very very good the action the government has done in forming a labour tribunal because we had so many problems and hope the tribunal will help,” he said, “but I think the leanings of the labour law are for the employer and that’s a major concern we are facing.”

He added another resort, Coco Palm Island Resort, had already threatened its management with strike action on New Year’s Eve, although Zakir would consider going to the tribunal now that it had been created.

At the swearing in ceremony for members of the tribunal, President Mohamed Nasheed said both employees and employers have rights as well as responsibilities and urged members to perform their role with this in mind.

Nasheed appointed Mariyam Nazima as president while Mr Mohamed Ahmed was appointed as vice-president of the tribunal

Other members include: Ali Najeeeb, Ibrahim Riffath, Hussain Shameem, Fathimath Shifana and Shabab Rasheed.


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