Government to address pay discrepancies as civil servants plan strike action

The Maldives Civil Servants’ Association (MCSA) has discussed a potential strike on April 20 should the government fail to address its concerns – mainly concerning pay discrepancies.

“First we want to find a solution through dialogue with the government. After that, if we have to, we will go on strike. And we are confident if we go on strike ninety percent of civil servants will support it,” MCSA President Mohamed Shaugee said.

Stating that the past three governments and parliament should take responsibility for the delay in setting a minimum wage, Shaugee said “the state as a whole has failed”.

President Abdulla Yameen is concerned about the issue of pay discrepancies and will find a solution through discussions with relevant parties, President’s Office Spokesperson Ibrahim Muaz Ali has said today.

“This is not a president who makes decisions based on his personal views alone. There will be discussions. The views and sentiments of the civil servants, doctors, and everyone will be considered in reaching a decision in this matter,” said Muaz.

Civil Servants’ Strike

“Even the Civil Service Commission has failed to protect the rights of civil servants and ensure there is no discrimination [with regards to pay],” said the MCSA’s Shaugee.

“We have discussed this with them, and they said they are working on resolving it. But it is hard to believe as we have been talking about this for the past six years.”

Responding to the civil servants’ plans to go on strike, the Civil Service Commission (CSC) issued a press release today reminding workers of the mandatory steps to be taken prior to a strike, which include filing a complaint with the Labor Relations Authority and giving written notice to the employer three days prior to any strike.

Employees who contravene this regulation can be fined between MVR10,000 – 50,000.

The Teachers Association Maldives (TAM) which led the teachers’ black protest earlier this week  has also threatened to go on strike as a last resort in their fight to resolve pay discrepancies.

President of the association Athif Abdul Hakeem said that, while no official discussions have taken place with the government since the protest, the teachers’ steering committee and focal points will meet this Friday to decide their course of action.

“We have been talking about [minimum wage] since the association was formed in 2008. We have been focusing on two major issues, one is resolving pay discrepancies. Equal pay. Second issue is improving the education sector in general, including resources, training and standards of teachers,” said President of TAM Athif Abdul Hakeem.

Athif noted that with parliament majority, the government can easily change things if there is a political will.

“If [President Yameen] wants to do those things for us, the means are there now. I believe it can be done and it should be done.

The demand for a minimum wage has been raised by Tourism Employees Association of the Maldives (TEAM) as well.

Minimum wage

The Employment Act of 2008 mandated the establishment of  a salary advisory board shall be established to advise the government on the appropriate minimum wage, though no government has yet fulfilled this requirement.

The pay advisory board had been established in September 2008 by President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and again in January 2009 by President Mohamed Nasheed, with no minimum wage resulting.

In May 2011, Nasheed announced his intention to set a minimum wage within a year, reconvening the pay advisory board.

Shortly after Nasheed’s initial promise, a number of business groups led by representatives of the Maldives Association of Construction Industry and the Maldives Association of Tourism Industry met to discuss the issue, determining that a minimum wage was “not important for the Maldives at the moment.”

Speaking at the press conference organised by the business groups, leader of the Jumhooree Party and Chairman of Villa Group Gasim Ibrahim said that setting a minimum wage suddenly without a good policy would destroy industry.

His thoughts were echoed by Ahmed Shiyam, Chairman of Sun Siyam resorts and leader of the Maldives Development Alliance.

Similar comments were made by current Deputy Leader of PPM Ahmed Adeeb, who at the time spoke as the treasurer of Maldives National Chamber Of Commerce and Industry.

Adeeb said that it would create great challenges for businesses if an equal minimum wage is set for both migrant workers and locals.

In December 2012, parliament passed a bill on the state wage policy which promised to resolve public sector pay discrepancies through the creation of a National Pay Commission.

The bill is still in the parliament’s economic committee, however, after being sent back for reconsideration by President Dr Mohamed Waheed, after issues were raised regarding which branch of the state would determine wages.


3 thoughts on “Government to address pay discrepancies as civil servants plan strike action”

  1. Minimum wage bill should be passed to Maldivian and it should be applicable to them.

    One dollar in Maldives and is not same as one dollar in Sri Lanka. In Sri Lanka you can buy more for one dollar.

    In other words, cost of living in different countries are different. Therefore minimum wage should be applicable to Maldivian.

    PPM had already been in office for 3 months and I don't understand why Civil Servant needs to go on strike immediately . They must give a reasonable amount of time to get this sorted out by the current Gov.

    Civil servant must also understand that they should not waste thier time while on duty for tea/coffee breaks in every one hour , taking sick leaves , other leaves 7 times a month.

    They should learn to be productive and their attitude of providing the service must be imposed before considering this strike.

    The service we get from Government offices are lousy and the staffs who are at the service level are all civil servant.

    Many of these people are incompetent and yet they want to go on strike.

    One of the lousiest people are in civil service and they are the people who should be paid the least in this country.

  2. Mordisian civil service, and for that matter, even in some private sectors, the hours that you do real work, can range from 1 to 8. And in most cases it is on the lower scale.

    The rest of the time, well, is on coffee, chitchat, facebook, flirting, kids to school, etc.

    If the idea is to improve, the civil servants need deep overhauling, uprooting some useless ones, and paying more to the useful ones and make them accountable.

    Accountability, responsibility, leadership are all in the lower scale, right now.

    Bless you all.

  3. Common practice of this country is that one acts only when the tail is seized and squeezed!
    This government, that government and the one before, had all the time in the world to do something about theses problems!
    MAG the dictator, had never wanted civil servants or anyone for that matter to get anything! People immaterial of who ever it is, should be going down on their knees, begging him! So, it is understandable and cannot be blamed!
    When this government, along with the blessings of MAG came in, it was boasting that they were fully aware of people's problems! Three months have passed and nothing seems to have been done!
    Now that the tail is held, and is very likely to be squeezed, they want dialogue, time, and whatnots!
    We, the tax payer have always been working and paying all the while!
    But due to negligences of government, it is us who have to suffer!
    Though it has got nothing to do with the subject matter, it is very apparent that the people have to brace themselves and get ready to start paying a 1.4 billion dollars compensation to GMR for having sent them away!


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