MDP marks May Day with rally calling for introduction of minimum wage

The opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) marked May Day or Labour Day on Thursday (May 1) with a rally across Male’ and the signing of a petition calling for the introduction of a minimum wage.

Addressing participants of the rally at the conclusion of the walk across the capital, former President Mohamed Nasheed observed that ensuring worker’s rights was essential for economic development.

“We are raising our voices and calling for the establishment of a minimum wage to facilitate job opportunities for Maldivian workers. The number of foreigners in the Maldives who are made to work for a small wage is increasing daily,” Nasheed said.

The international community considered the Maldives a destination for human trafficking, he added, with Bangladeshi workers paid US$100 or US$150 a month.

While migrant workers were deprived of their rights, Nasheed said the situation deprived Maldivians of employment.

The main purpose of setting a minimum wage was providing job opportunities for Maldivians, he said, calling on pro-government parties to use their parliamentary majority to legislate for a minimum wage.

Nasheed went on to accuse the government of attempting to introduce “harsh practices” to the Maldives in a bid to consolidate power.

The former president called on Maldivian workers to “stand up for your rights.”

President’s Office Spokesperson Ibrahim Muaz meanwhile told the press on Thursday that the current administration would protect worker’s rights.

“Several workers lost their jobs due to political pressure during the MDP government. The present government will not discriminate based on political affiliations. We will work to make sure that every citizen, every worker is satisfied,” he was quoted as saying by Sun Online.

He added that President Abdulla Yameen would fulfil his campaign pledge to streamline the government’s pay structure to eliminate wage gaps between state institutions.

Meanwhile, in a statement on the occasion of Maldives Civil Service Day – which is also marked on May 1 – Civil Service Commission (CSC) Chair Dr Mohamed Latheef urged civil servants to speedily implement the policies and projects of the government regardless of political turmoil.

Dr Latheef noted that a civil service training institute was formed in 2009 to improve competence of government employees.

During the past year, he added, 66 courses were conducted with 1,838 participants from across the country.

As of March 2013, the number of civil servants in the Maldives stands at 24,951.

The opposition MDP meanwhile decided to mark Labour Day with a rally after the party’s national council adopted a resolution submitted by Youth Wing Leader Aminath Shauna last month.

The resolution stated that the party should organise a gathering to call for the introduction of a minimum wage as well as for the Maldives to sign the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) Convention on Occupational Safety and Health.

The resolution noted that the MDP has been observing Labour Day since 2006 and that the Maldives became an ILO member state during the party’s three years in office.

Moreover, it added, Labour Day or May Day was declared a public holiday by President Nasheed while a Labour Tribunal to resolve employment disputes was established in December 2008.

Prior to the ousting of the MDP government on February 7, 2012, the resolution stated that a decision was made to introduce a minimum wage and a board was formed to monitor the policy shift.

However, “dictatorial habits” were returning with the current the administration allegedly violating the rights of workers and intimidating government employees, the party contended.


3 thoughts on “MDP marks May Day with rally calling for introduction of minimum wage”

  1. On an important note, why didnt MDP introduce a minimum wage when they were in power ?

    Were they afraid of the backlash from businessmen and businesses that would oppose minimum wage introduction ? Were they afraid of the economic effects ?

    Isnt it strange that MDP started talking about minimum wage, immediately after the MDP lost power
    Coincidence ? I think not !

    Here's how an imaginary fictional conversation with a former MDP govt minister on the subject of minimum wage today.

    MDP Minister: THIS PPM GOvt is an absolute outrage ! They dont want to give workers any rights ! Why minimum wage is an absolute necessity in Maldives ! Workers stand for your rights ! Dont let this govt push you around.
    Fictional Interviewer: So uh, if it was SOO important why didnt you guys introduce minimum wage back in 2008 ?
    MDP Minister: 2008 ey ? We just got elected in 2008 ! There wasnt enough time, you silly kid.
    Fictional Interviewer: So how bout 2009. Why didnt you introduce minimum wage in 2009 ?
    MDP Minister: Well, we were thinking about introducing the minimum wage in 2009. We were thinking real hard !
    Fictional Interviewer: How about in 2010 ! Why didnt you introduce minimum wage in 2010 ?
    MDP Minister: Well, thats a good question. Let me just pick my nose and ignore you for a while.
    Ficitonal Interviewer: How about in 2011. Why didnt you introduce minimum wage in 2011 ! Thats almost 3 years !
    MDP Minister: Dammit kid, i told you i was picking my nose in 2011. let me finish picking my nose !
    Fictional Interviewer: So how about 2012.
    MDP Minister: Well stop right there ! We were just about to introduce minimum wage before we got toppled ! In fact if we had remained in power, March 1st we would have introduced minimum wage.
    Ficitonal Interviewer: What a load of......

    This kind of echoes the responses to minimum wage that MDP state minister made in Haveeru News articles.
    See the link here.

    It just goes to show that Maldivian politicians are sleazy and just work to dodge problems and dont do anything to solve it when they are in positions of authority, and when the Govt changes, suddenly the issue which they ignored for so long, becomes so important. When its someone's else's responsibility, hound them and blame them. But when its your responsibility, pick your nose and ignore the issue.

  2. @Doublestandards

    Sure they did.

    Guess who stopped the bill in parliament?

    That's right - the same guys in power today.

  3. @ Double standards

    Isnt the PPM govt like that too ? I mean, what about the promise from PPM "Every family will get a doctor", which changed to "Every 2500 people containing family will get a doctor ?"


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