International Labour Organisation intervenes over MPWU harassment allegations

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has written to the Maldives government for a response to allegations that members of the Maldivian Ports Workers Union (MPWU) have been harassed over their political views.

In a letter seen by Minivan News,  Cleopatra Doumbia-­Henry, Director of the ILO’s International Labour Standards Department, asked the government for its observations about accusations raised by MPWU members concerning workplace harrasment.

The letter also “denounces” the termination of MPWU president Ibrahim Khaleel, executive committee member Yazeedh Abdhul Hameed and six other union members.  Concerns were also raised by the ILO over the suspension of 49 trade union members, the reassignment of many union members to other ports, and accusations of threats and harassment towards union members.

The MPWU itself has previously alleged that authorities at Maldives Ports Limited (MPL) had violated worker rights based on their political activism. MPWU President Khaleel has previously sent a letter to MPL CEO Mahdi Imad, in which he said, “Although the constitution guarantees freedom of expression and freedom of assembly , it is now common within MPL to stop employees from expressing certain political views, and to violate the Employment Act by unfairly dismissing employees and transferring employees to different departments without prior warning or explanation of any offense committed.”

Speaking to Minivan News today, Deputy CEO of MPL, Ahmed Faiz said they had already sent a response to the ILO on behalf of the Maldivian government. Faiz was unable to share the contents of the letter, but said that it was based around the authorities’ belief that the MPWU was being used as a political tool.

On the topic of MPWU’s accusations of harassment and unfair treatment based on political activism, Faiz said “There can be no grounds to make these accusations. Even today MPL employs many staff who belong to different political parties. We even have people in managerial posts who are actually members of MDP.”

Faiz also went on to say, “MPL is a service provider which deals with a variety of clients. In this time of political turmoil, such activism out in the open may have a bad impact on the company itself and that is why we took measures to stop them”

Earlier this month, the World Federation of Trade Unions also expressed concern over this matter.

MPWU President Khaleel was not responding to calls at the time of press.


3 thoughts on “International Labour Organisation intervenes over MPWU harassment allegations”

  1. This is Baaghee Waheed's "key", Ahmed Faiz's area where the "key" dictates terms!

    Operation of this port has been somewhat crude in the last couple of months!

    Odd scene of port not working during certain hours and working overtime hours have been noticed!

    "key" is sacked from MBC but seems to be in full control at MPL!

  2. The ILO is a bigger challenge to Maldives that is swept under the carpet in the sense we do not hear about it.
    As a member of ILO, the Maldives is required to allow labor unions and grant the right to bargain collectively. Labour strikes, if required by the unions are also a rights that must be allowed by legislation at the earliest. The consequences of such a law is enormous for local businesses.

    In addition, many economic and trade benefits from the US and the EU are CONDITIONED on strict implementation of ILO conventions. Upto 2010 the US has withheld trade advantages precisely for the same reason.

    The Maldives local economy, international economy, local politics and international regulations are so intertwined now, many such issues requires sound leadership, good foresight, decisiveness and momentum.

    However, the apparent capacity of the leaders is limited to daily fire fighting. If a proactive leadership with the ability to at least out outmaneuver the daily 'fires' is not provided, our leaders cannot be considered any different from an average guy struggling to meet ends.

  3. why didn't the mdp push to ratify the ILO conventions when they had the chance Mr. Hassan Latheef. you were more interested always in satisfying the deals the resort owners rather than protecting the rights of employees. Maldives is going down hill first 30 years of maumoonism, then the annivists and now the baqqee waheedism what next maldives.


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