Ongoing strike at Vilu Reef resort sees 18 staff fired

Vilu Reef resort has allegedly terminated 18 members of staff, with some given just one hour to leave, after employees had presented management with a list of grievances.

Speaking with Minivan News, Ahmed Rasheed – a Vilu Reef employee for two years before his dismissal yesterday – described his termination:

“They sent me with 5 police guards into my room. They locked the door and asked me to pack within one hour.”

Vilu Reef is part of the Sun Travel & Tours group – a company owned by the prominent businessman and Maldives Development Alliance (MDA) leader Ahmed ‘Sun’ Shiyam.

After compiling a list of grievances against the resort, Rasheed explained that he had prepared a petition on which he managed to get 153 signatures from fellow staff.

He recalled that the demands were then presented to the hotel management on March 17, who came back to the employees, suggesting “if you don’t want to stay here you can leave.”

After conferring with the staff team, employees then decided to strike, stated Rasheed, with around 50 resort employees congregating at around 11pm with their demands on Sunday (March 23).

The management called police, but assured staff that no would be terminated, said Rasheed. They agreed to carry out amendments to meet the requests as of the April 30, he added, “so the next day we went back to work.”

“I was fired after two days,” continued Rasheed. “They just give me a call and said ‘hey can you come to the office’, then they gave me a letter. They asked me to sign.”

According to Rasheed’s termination contract, the reason Vilu Reef fired him was because his post was no longer available.

The termination letter stated that the employees were being fired due to their posts “being made redundant” and were asked to leave with “immediate effective (sic) of March 25”.

The letter acknowledges that there should be one month’s notice for the termination of staff, and therefore the management “have decided to as an extra measure compensation payment in lieu of three months notice period.”

The next steps, according to Rasheed, are being supported by the Tourism Association of Maldives (TEAM).

“We are not a member of TEAM but we are really thanking them for their help. They are helping us to do something good. At least we have some people who are trying to get our rights back.”

Workers’ right to strike

TEAM Secretary General  Mauroof Zakir told Minivan News that TEAM would assist the staff in taking the case to the Employment Tribunal, though felt there would be “no hope” for a fair case.

“Shiyam is very strong here,” he noted, “one of the partners of the government.”

“Since 2012 the decisions are against international standards and international best practice,” he added. “It’s all corrupt judiciary, and high court decisions against employment cases are one of the key factors.”

According to the Freedom of Peaceful Assembly Act 2013, tourist resorts, ports, and airports fall into a category of places in which protests are prohibited.

The US State Department expressed concern about the change in this law in their recently released 2013 Human Rights Report.

Local NGOs Transparency Maldives and the Maldivian Democracy Network have also expressed their concern that the law has impacted upon freedom of peaceful assembly.

No-one from the management team at Vilu Reef was available for comment when contacted by Minivan News.

Earlier this year the prestigious One & Only Reethi Rah resort saw an estimated 90% of its employees partake in an organised strike against perceived ill treatment and discrimination.

The strike was called following the management’s failure to meet employees to discuss concerns regarding discrimination against local workers, and a team of police were dispatched to the resort.

In a similar case in September 2013, staff at Irufushi Beach and Spa resort reported a “firing spree” affecting staff members professing to support the Maldivian Democratic Party.

The resort, which in May 2013 abruptly terminated its agreement with hotel giant Hilton – leading to the overnight resignation of 30 employees – is also part of the Sun Travel group.

A source working at the hotel at the time of publishing stated, “Shiyam took over this resort in what the staff refers to as another coup d’etat at the resort level. Since then we have been gradually stripped of rights we are legally entitled to as citizens of the Maldives.”


16 thoughts on “Ongoing strike at Vilu Reef resort sees 18 staff fired”

  1. Well I'm sure the new government and majlis will do their best to protect employees!

    Wow, I'm in such an ironic mood today.. Although this is rather cynical, it's really alarming employees are not much more than puppets in the hands of their employers.

  2. This is what the MAJORITY voted for. I hope the MAJORITY suffers for their own lack of foresight.

  3. The 30 years Maumoon era is back to rule again, where lowly slaves have no right to protest.

    MAUMOONISM FUN FACT: Every Maumoon supporter knows that when you employ a human being and pay them a salary that human becomes your property to do with as you please. Anybody who disagreed with this fact used to go to jail for years where they got tortured, but now they just get fired. Hooorayyy for democracy!

  4. This is how President Sun Siyam treats his citizens in Republic of Vilu reef.

  5. Minivan is trying to tell one side of the story here in order to create problems .

    Why Minivan never spoke the resort management ?

    There were few people from the resort who had been trying interrupt the resort service and thier demand was completely unethical.

    How can they demand to pay USD 1000 service charge when the service charge component is not that amount.

    This resort is not a five start luxury resort and it is mid market resort with an average room rate of 250 dollar a nights.

    On resort like this it is impossible to have a service of similar of a five star luxury resort.

    They are also demanding things which are impossible such as removal of certain key management staffs ?

    Shiyam is paying agreed salary as per the contract and he is also paying services charge also.

    Decent accommodation and food were also provided .

    It is true , if they are not happy with the employer, they are free to resign and go. They are not forced to work in the resort and they are free to go and work else where.

    No one should work as a slave and no one should be forced to work . If this is the case at Vilureef then Government must stop them abusing the people.

  6. This is indeed will do as I say or else your services will be terminated!! Is there no worker's charter for these resorts?
    I still cannot understand why foreigners choose to work in the Maldives.
    I for one will never travel to the Maldives.....and let me reiterate that there are millions of Indians like me who can afford to holiday in any goddam 'high end' resort of our choosing, anywhere in the world.

  7. Yes, because demanding rights as agreed upon in the contract is unethical in their standards. If this is the mindset of the PPM, then no one should hold doubts to their humanity.

  8. i am not represeting PPM and i have mentioned ten basic facts about the resort .

    This looks like it is again been orchestrated by people against PPM.

    Miss India.
    People like you who had robbed this country during Nasheed regime are not welcome and we do not want you to visit this country even.

    All Indians are not like you and all Indian companies are not like GMR .

    You and GMR can forget this country and we will never bow our heads to you guys .

  9. And I'm not a member of the MDP either, 'hero'. Your argument is invalid because despite your opinion, the people being oppressed are humans - not mindless slaves - and they have testified, with evidence, of their torment.

  10. Hey "Hero". Pay up the remittance fee, or else we'll see how you bigmouths can stand a few months of starvation when Malaysia, China and India refuses to trade with you.

    Here's the funny thing; the Maldivians will blame YOUR kind for their predicament. So, to be butchered by your own people, or pay up? Your choice. Think fast. Ticktock. 🙂

  11. Hero, just because someone came forward with concerns does not mean they can be terminated despite what ever the contract signed. There are ways to handle such situations.

    So what has that old man HR director Hameed has to say? He thinks he knows it all... So is this HR?

  12. What the minivan article says is 100% percent true...these people from Sun Travel group; they have played this game before...I have also lost my job because of reference letter also stated the same thing:

    "termination letter stated that i was being fired due to my post “being made redundant” and were asked to leave with immediately"

    no respect for staff employment rights in this Sun Hotels / Sun Travel Group...

  13. @ Hero aka Zero
    How can we rob a bankrupt country that exists on handouts from India?
    I have no intention of travelling to Maldives and I hope you retards will return the gesture by not travelling to India either. The low cost medical and education sectors in India are for the benefit of Indian nationals and not for a bunch of foreigners with whom we have nothing in common.
    I am sure there are good hospitals and universities in us cow worshippers a favour and go there instead.

  14. India should stop supporting this regime that openly insulted them during the 2013 elections, then backstabbed them not only with the GMR, but with the TaTa high rise buildings. It's stopped because the budget has been 'redirected' into the swiss bank accounts of the PPM.

  15. We knw Vilu Reef is not a Five star property,,,bt at least the management can can convince the staffs,,,they re not taking a single dollar from the service charge..cause 99% of service charge should be shared among the staffs equally,bt they don't do.......


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