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DQP submits bill on industrial action: two days notice required for strikes

DQP submits bill on industrial action: two days notice required for strikes thumbnail

The Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP) has submitted a bill to parliament regulating industrial action conducted by employees in the Maldives.

If passed, the bill requires employees to give 48 hours notice to employers before protesting, and restricts the timing of strikes to between 8:00am and 4:00pm.

“The employees can only boycott their work for a specified duration. For instance, for 24 or 48 hours,” DQP Deputy Leader and MP Riyaz Rasheed explained to newspaper Miadhu.

The bill comes a week after strike action at Kurumba Maldives led to the evacuation of guests and the arrest of 19 staff by police for intimidation and vandalism.

A statement by the resort’s parent company, Universal Enterprises, deplored the action and alleged strike organisers “sent employees armed with makeshift weapons to blockade the main kitchen and physically threaten staff serving meals to guests”.

The Kurumba strike was the most recent of several resort strikes this year. In April staff at the Shangri-La Villingili Resort went on strike after four workers were dismissed for allegedly playing on a PlayStation in a vacant villa, while in February staff at the Centara Grand Island Resort in North Ari Atoll held a strike complaining they were not receiving the service charges agreed to them by management.

Shangri-La Villingili eventually dismissed the 10 strike leaders and invited the remaining staff to return to work, while  Centara Grand increased the service charge allocated to staff after a representative from Ministry of Human Resources visited the island.

As most resorts operate on privately-owned islands, the nature of the sector makes the legality of industrial action contentious – while the Constitution provides the right to strike, workers cannot simply picket outside the factory gates and invariably protest on resort property, running into further conflict with management conscious of image in a highly service-oriented industry.

“MATI believes employees should not strike on resort [property] – this is the shop floor,” said Mohamed Ibrahim ‘Sim’ from the Maldives Association of Tourism Industry (MATI). “It has to be somewhere else. People do not understand that resort islands are standalone communities that must produce their own water and other amenities. A hotel in the city of Male’ does not face such disruption to essential services.”

Sim questioned the practicality of restricting  the hours of strike action, but acknowledged the bill’s objective of requiring notice for any stop-work action “and only after following established grievance procedures.”

Maldives Resort Workers (MRW), an active community of resort workers campaigning for fair treatment in the tourism industry, condemned the DQP bill as “effectively relegating protesting and demonstrations against working conditions in resorts to the era [of the former government].”

The introduction of a notice period would give employers “ample time to serve warning letters, suspensions, dismissals or anything to prevent a strike,” MRW claimed.

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6 Comments on "DQP submits bill on industrial action: two days notice required for strikes"

  1. Aslu Kula on Wed, 1st Sep 2010 2:24 PM 

    True colours of DQP and Hassan Saeed are finally showing. All pretense of standing for the people are gone. DQP stands with the Big Boys of tourism industry.

  2. Fathun on Thu, 2nd Sep 2010 2:09 AM 

    the constitutional guarantee to strike/freedom of assembly cannot be narrowed down or limited thru an Act of Parliament. Such legislation, if enacted, would be unconstitutional.

    As for DQP, its evident who runs the party….in a parliament filled with the lead actors of the tourism industry, this bill will pass thru without a hitch!….

    Dr. Saeed and Dr. Jameel wud need no more evidence for anyone to prove that they are just a couple of people still munching on their sour grapes.

  3. heck on Thu, 2nd Sep 2010 8:03 AM 

    Not bad.

    At least the management will have time to arrange an exit for the tourists or to address the grievances of the employees one last time if they really wanted.

    But strikes must go on!

    They are good.

  4. Mikalo on Thu, 2nd Sep 2010 12:26 PM 

    As @heck feels, this is not bad!
    But it could have been done a little earlier and not when Kurumba workers go on strike!
    Strikes have been going in resorts for some time, why not make laws then?

    Law making has become a joke in this country for sure!

    When there is a street accident, make law for that accident!
    When there is strike in Kurumba, make law for striking in Kurumba!

    Evidently there has been few laws made for the benefit of the peoples.

    Looks like parliament has recessed a “TAILOR MADE LAWS FOR SALE!!!!!” Campaign! Perhaps!

  5. heck on Thu, 2nd Sep 2010 12:50 PM 

    I agree on this statement
    “Law making has become a joke”

  6. Adam G on Tue, 7th Sep 2010 4:52 AM 

    MATI are a bunch of idiots. Don’t know what this “shop-floor” non-sense is…workers go on strike at their place of employment all the time everywhere in the world….and anyway, the islands belong to the people of Maldives, the resort owners are just renters.

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