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Veteran port workers challenge abrupt dismissal

The Maldives Ports Limited claimed the workers were let go after some departments were merged as part of a restructuring effort.



Four senior managers at the state-owned ports authority are challenging their surprise dismissal without notice this week, Mihaaru reported Tuesday.

The Maldives Ports Limited told the press that they were let go after some departments were merged as part of a restructuring effort.

But Ibrahim Rasheed, former head of the MPL’s operations division, told the newspaper that new department heads have been appointed recently. “And functions haven’t been reduced along with it either. So what the company is saying doesn’t make sense,” he was quoted as saying.

Rasheed, who worked at the ports company for more than 10 years and holds a masters degree in business administration, said he would prove to the Employment Tribunal that the dismissal was unfair.

Mujahid Anees, a 20-year veteran and former head of the Malé north harbour, said the MPL’s organisational changes were political.

“There is no atmosphere for us to work professionally. The way it is now you could only work there by participating in a lot in political activities,” he said.

Mohamed Maseeh, former head of terminal vehicles unit, and Ibrahim Waheed, head of cargo, were also sacked earlier this week.

Anees said all four would seek compensation from the tribunal.

A ports worker was reportedly sacked recently for criticising the government on social media. Staff at government offices and state-owned companies, who are forced to attend ruling party rallies, say their online activities are monitored by bosses.

Last year, a scandal-ridden MPL was placed under investigation by the anti-graft watchdog over a loss-making fuel supply deal and alleged wrongdoing in the procurement of a small boat in need of repairs for MVR5 million(US$325,000).

The ports company’s former boss was replaced in the wake of a widely publicised feud with a ruling party lawmaker.