Reethi Rah workers strike over alleged discrimination

Over ninety percent of Maldivian workers at the One & Only Reethi Rah resort are taking part in ongoing strikes in protest against perceived ill-treatement by management.

The strike was called following the management’s failure to meet employees to discuss concerns regarding discrimination against local workers, the Tourism Employment Association of Maldives (TEAM) has confirmed.

Secretary General Mauroof Zaki confirmed that the issues included allegations of discriminatory pay and racism against local staff – including unequal benefits and promotions. Mauroof stated that senior management at the resort had refused to take the concerns of staff seriously.

“Because of these issues the majority of staff raised these issues with the management and the management response was not very productive,” said Mauroof.

He revealed that staff had visited the rooms of senior management yesterday evening but were unable to gain a response – leading the “frustrated” staff to call for a strike.

The Maldives Resort Workers blog today reported that management at the resort had “again taken the weary route of resorting to ask help from ‘higher’ authorities rather than engaging with the workers.”

“Police teams have been send to dissuade the staff from protesting and it appears that staff have been given ultimatum to stop the demo as of today,” today’s post added.

A police spokesperson confirmed that a team had been dispatched to the resort but declined to provide further details.

Human Resources Manager at Reethi Rah Manish Sadhu acknowledged that the strike was ongoing, but stated that police had arrived simply as a security precaution – describing the situation as calm.

When asked about the strikers complaints of discrimination, Manish stated that there was there were no such issues present in the resort.

Manish said that the management was now meeting with the striking workers.

Whilst not officially endorsed by TEAM, Mauroof stated that the organisation was prepared to assist Reethi Rah’s workers and was currently mediating between the parties.

Despite restrictions placed on the right to strike by the 2012 Freedom of Assembly Bill, Mauroof maintained that the option to strike was a human right, protected by the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

“It is not for police to intervene until anything illegal happens.”

Mauroof himself stated that he himself would happily join the striking workers as his own personal dispute with the company remains unresolved, in relation to what he maintains was the termination of his employment as a result of his union activities.

Two executive TEAM members were detained by police when attempting to board a staff ferry to Reethi Rah following the High Court’s overruling of their earlier dismissal.