Strikes that hit Sri Lanka managed resorts in Maldives end

Friday, 5 December 2008 20:51

Lanka Business Online

A series of strikes that hit Maldivian resorts, including several managed by Sri Lanka's Aitken Spence group are ending, after the strikes were called off following presidential intervention, officials said.

"The situation is 90 percent back to normal," Aitken Spence group's Maldivian chief Chetiya Perera told LBO.

"I have already visited two resorts and I am about to visit another one which is further away.

Sri Lanka's Aitken Spence managed Meedhuparu Island resort was one of the affected resorts. It operates five resorts in the Atolls under the 'Adaaran' brand.

Maldives has become an important source of profits to the leisure division of the group, with Sri Lanka's leisure industry hit by an internal conflict.

Perera said the resorts were always in operation, during the industrial action. Maldivian diplomatic sources said the strikes were settled following intervention by the newly elected president's office.

Reports said disputes at other resorts which triggered strikes elsewhere have been settled.

Minivanews, a web based news service operating from the capital Male, said 13 employees from the One and Only Resort who were dismissed have now been taken back.

"We have actually got everything that we demanded. I am very happy," Minivanews quoted Ahmed Easa, president of Tourism Employee’s Association Maldives was quoted as saying in Minivan.

"Everybody is happy, including the management, I think."

Maldives has a new coalition government, which was brought to power by pro-democracy activists. The strikes were partly triggered by a new employments law which promises better conditions for workers.

But cracks are already appearing. Home minister Gasim Ibrahim resigned Wednesday evening citing lack of funds to improve prisons. But over the past few days he had come under severe pressure for sending riot police to quell a strike at a resort.

Gasim a one-time finance minister of the former administration of Abdul Gayoom, quit shortly before the government fell.

President Mohamed Nasheed won office in October following the country's first multi-party elections ousting Asia longest serving head of state. He was a former political prisoner.

Maldives is a premium tourist paradise, but tourist arrivals have been falling for three consecutive months amidst global turmoil. In October arrivals fell 4.0 percent to 56,363

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