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Resort workers protest at sea



Resort employees in Baa atoll staged a protest Saturday to demand a minimum wage and protection of labour rights.

Organised by the Tourism Employees Association of Maldives, about 100 workers from eight resorts gathered at a sandbank in the atoll.

TEAM vice president Mohamed Sodiq told local media that the purpose of the rally was to demand worker’s rights.

“No government has cared for us. Every government pledges to protect our rights and establish minimum wage. But no government has fulfilled that promise so far,” he said.

“This strike is staged at sea to show that we are stranded in the ocean.”

The freedom of assembly law prohibits strikes or demonstrations on resort islands.

Among the issues flagged at the protest were low wages and bad working conditions at the resort islands.

TEAM has been demanding a minimum monthly wage of US$600 for resort workers and has repeatedly petitioned for better working conditions.

The NGO also wants a trade union law to be passed, a bigger share of resort jobs to be allocated to Maldivians and the introduction of a flat service charge.

There are 27,837 Maldivians working in resorts, representing around 14 percent of the total workforce, according to the last census. Some resorts charge upwards of thousands of dollars a night and tourism accounts for one-third of economic output, making them huge money-spinners for the country.