TEAM calls on government to hasten introduction of minimum wage at Rf5000

The Tourism Employees Association of the Maldives (TEAM) has urged the government to implement a minimum wage, to address a growing gap between the rich and poor.

“TEAM believes that the most important thing to do in order to change the current situation of all persons working in the tourism industry is to implement a minimum wage,’’ said the organisation.

‘’A minimum wage is also important to avoid the potential bankruptcy of small and medium businesses and to eliminate the differentiation between the rich and poor.’’

TEAM urged the government to conduct a fair survey and to determine an adequate minimum wages, “instead of only listening to few influential big businessmen.’’

TEAM claimed the minimum wage for those working in the tourism sector should be at least Rf 5000 (US$325) per month.

Vice President of TEAM Maurrof Zakir said that Rf5000 for resort workers was determined after taking into considering the GDP of the country, salaries of civil servants and the amount of money tourism resorts make per month.

‘’Usually a tourism resort makes US$2-3 million every month,’’ he said.  “But only US$200, 000 at the most is the amount spent on wages. Our estimates do not show that the tourist resorts will suffer any loss by paying their staff a minimum wage of Rf 5000 per month.’’

He also recommended the government  set the minimum wage differently for each sectors.

In last week’s radio address, President Mohamed Nasheed promised that the government would set a minimum wage this year to ensure a decent living.

In January this year, a bill governing the minimum wage of people employed in the Maldives was sent to parliament by MDP Parliamentary Group Leader ‘Reeko’ Moosa Manik.

“It is important for everyone working in the Maldives to be certain of the minimum wage that can be given to them – that is a right of every citizen. That’s why this bill is being drafted,” Moosa said.

Press Secretary for the President Mohamed Zuhair did not respond to Minivan News at time of press.


25 thoughts on “TEAM calls on government to hasten introduction of minimum wage at Rf5000”

  1. Minimum wage has a good aim but the way things are, it will help only help foreign workers more than Maldivians.
    If TEAM genuinely wants to help Maldivains, why not ask for mandatory health insurance or educational allowance or accommodation allowance.

  2. This will not be an issue for the tourism industry, most of the resorts already pay more than this to their employees. The big losers will the local construction industry, domestic workers and all other small businesses that rely on cheap foreign labour - costs will go up and there will be reduction in economic activity as this is passed to the consumers. This is not really the way to increase employment in the economy.

    Please consider the effect this will have on the amount of foreign remittances going out of the country if 50,000 low cost workers in the country suddenly have their wages doubled.

    Like the changes to tax regulation, environmental and FDA rules its a good medium term goal but right now the government is trying to do too many things too quickly without due consideration for the consequences and is lacking of qualified technocrats to administer these schemes.

  3. @Pros and cons
    So TEAM does not GENUINELY want to help Maldivians.

  4. this is a very good suggestion by TEAM. if this suggestion goes through then there is a big possibility that construction industry will be reclaimed by maldivians again. currently construction money goes to contractor and sub contractors, the artisans get the lowest near extortions rates of pay. if this measure goes through contructors will be forced to hire locals at hgher pay which will be good for local economy. the myth that locals are lazy or will not work is bullshit. locals work like hell but they will work only if they get a livable wage.

  5. that is not a must to apply same amount of minimum wage each and every sector, that is the message TEAM has given out

  6. can I make one suggestion---ask for your wages per-hour,not monthly and extra wages for weekend working/late nights and long hours..Tell them if they want the best workers then pay them the best wages..Its called living in the real world...Good luck..

  7. and ppl would claim that maldives isnt racist or discriminatory. that there is no such problem here at all. So the higher beings, maldivians should get the higher pay and have minimum wages set. and the low life expat workers who break their backs everyday, who hav to sleep on construction sites, who share a small enclosed room with 20 other low life expats doesnt deserve such courtesy as a minimum wage. Is that it? how wud you feel if you were to get a job elsewhere in the world and the higher beings of that country treat you the same way you are treating the expats here?

  8. We should be concerned to how this is implemented, other measures to curb the inevitable labour black market, should be in place. Quoting Mrf 5,000 is simplistic, where did they pull this figure out from?

    @jamalu - Absolutely right! Unlike popular belief Maldivians' do low skilled jobs where they get a reasonable pay. With minimum wage HR management will be big, fewer employees will be hired and they will be paid more, better trained, more valued. People will value their jobs, attitudes will change. I work for a company which has 95% locals in its payroll, salaries are very high at all levels, so is the expectations for performance, promotions are based on merit, low performers are "managed out".

    @Pros and Cons - Minimum wage will make expats expensive to hire for low paying jobs. This will reduce the number of low-skilled expats with locals replacing them.

  9. good points peasent , TEAM speaks for their industry. TEAM also requested their wage rights be equivalent that of civil service but this was turned down by both government and parliament on the basis that there are private sector. I say TEAM take the lead on this one and soon the other minim wage sectors will catch up in time.... good luck !

  10. Maldivians don't want to do labor work, No matter how much you pay them....So we need foreign nobody in their sane mind would pay a laborer 10,000 or 20,000 rufiyaa...The SME's would all go bankrupt....Oh yeah, that's what exactly MDP wants so that they can control all the business through their few cronies...People will be too poor to go against them.

    MDP always used Singapore as their prototype of "Aneh dhivehirajje" ..SIngapore doesn't have a minimum wage.

  11. Team is a group of Narcissistic movement where the leaders of team wants to be in parliament with fat salaries without doing anything. Even the Easa used all the youths in the tourism industry for his gain.. Shame on you team and likes of team, who are socialistic elements which will break this economy into pieces..

  12. Nars- "Maldivians don’t want to do labor work, No matter how much you pay them…"

    Speaking from experience,I beg to differ....

    and yes Singapore does not have a minimum wage, neither is a large part of its population unskilled and dependent on the state or a monopsony of a few business oligarchs.

  13. Lets agree for the sake of agreeing.. that we pay 5000 rufiyaa as minimum wage.

    What if the whole tourism industry employers come to an understanding and lower the salaries of senior of staff also to minimum wage? There is this possibility if we do not consider setting the salaries according to sectors or segments.

  14. i work in a resort and here everyone gets more than 10000.rf per month totally. everyone means everyone including the expats and laborers etc. we have public are cleaners (that's a proper manual works job no?) who have their O levels and passes. Now i am saying why do we still need to employ illiterate expats here for manual labour when we can get better ones locally? This is where this minimum wage will be good for economy.

  15. Hi Jameel,

    Good for you!

    I bet you are working for one of the foreign managed resorts. If you'd for work Villa, Universal etc you'd know that a manual laborer (usually from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka or India) are paid anywhere from $90 - $150. Many of them are classified as "temporary" and they are not paid service charge either.

    They usually pay upto $3-5k to "agents" at home who share with our local "agents". That money is got from borrowing from unscrupulous money lenders (who later harass their families) or by selling their homes/land. Many of these poor guys are unaware of what they are getting into, some have been promised much higher salaries.

    Yet our businessmen have the gall to come on tv and talk about the hard times they have.

    I'm sure having a minimum wage will help bring this exploitation to an end.

  16. Comments reflect that none of those commenting has any interests in the industries and businesses that will be driven to the point of bankruptcy by this measure if taken along with the current tax reforms.

    In light of the above comments, the meanings of certain key words in the current Divehi lexicon are now apparent to me. Such as:

    - Increase state revenue - huri baareh laafa viyafaarithah felaalun.

    - Austerity measures - hus anga thalhaafa ehkamehves nukurun.

    - Minimum wage - musaara bodukuraane vaseelai.

  17. Lets not kid ourselves. Seriously. Helping us?..LOL.

    Name one institution, which acts honorably, to help Maldivians? And what really takes the cream is that most Maldivians, are really ignorant. Ignorant of what the Government and politicians have promised and what must be done as their jobs to HELP us.

    I see public in factional fights. I see political parties enjoying the turmoil, while skimming anything and everything they can. Hoarding themselves. And the bloody camel-lovers aren't helping either. They wish to rule like the 7th Century.

    So, TEAM, helping Maldivians? No way. They would ensure tackling below the belt and cripple the economy.

  18. Of course, I believe that a minimum wage is a good thing, but it MAY have its drawbacks.

    Just as I was reading this article, I was doing some history reading about the history of minimum wages for Aboriginals here in Australia, hoped you guys might find it interesting and thought I could relate it.

    Here in Australia, in the sixties and seventies the Australian Government introduced the minimum wage for the original people of this nation (Australian Aboriginal people) in the hope of preventing them from being cruelly exploited. Their natural hunting grounds had become pastoral land and they were killed for hunting on these lands, so, they were forced to work like oppressed dogs for barely enough flour and sugar to survive. They often put up with it however, so long as they could go practice their traditional ceremonies and laws.

    But, instead of helping the Indigenous people, the introduction of the minimum wage hurt them. The pastoralists simply threw them off their land. They refused to pay them any minimum wage. So, you know, the Indigenous often begged. They were forced away from their tribal lands which they had deep spiritual connections to, and made to live in city slums.

    Many became thieves and criminals because they refused to submit to a white man's authority and work for them or learn, as they felt a deep sense of humiliation, pain at white the white man had put them through. Many resisted all white authority. It was often their desparate attempt to keep their pride, and it manifested savagely.

    When they did beg for the white man's charity, at that time it was the Church who gave charity. So to get food they had to become Christians, and they were banned from speaking their language or practicing their own tribal religions. This was a further cause of rage, especially coming from us Westerners who were supposed to fight for freedom of religion. Yes, talk of freedom and democracy, human rights is our big hypocritical meta-narrative the way Islam is yours. All Societies seem to aspire towards ideals which make them hypocrites.

    This is another lesson, freedom of belief is dependant on either economic freedom and independance, call it 'power,' or it is dependant on complete sacrifice and capacity for heroic ascetisism and martyrdom, simple as that, no one will give you freedom Maldives, that is just our western propaganda, you fight for freedom, you bleed for it, it does not just COME, and noone can give it to you, you take it through your own struggle.

    Back to the story.

    Many Indigenous simply refused to ask the white man for anything, or to submit to his authority to learn a trade, a skill, or anything, as the hate, the resentment and that aggressive pride which manifests as a reaction to the deepest humiliation consumed many of them. So, they often became, criminals, and sometimes vicious ones at that. Stealing from the white man was often seen as better than submitting to him for charity or for education, it was a matter of honour and dignity. They often stole with a vengeance. The Government cracked down on them violently, massacres, near genocide, but it simply

    To this day, many still live in a vicious cycle of desparate sorrow and rage. Though many have found the strength to overcome it and have become professionals, their are still huge problems. The Aboriginals often take out their frustration on each other as they are removed from the rest of society and cannot reach their real enemy (us.) Therefore their societies are often extremely violent places.

    Many feel proud to go to jail here. It is their new rite of passage in some of their circles, a symbol of resistance and bravery against white oppression. A man is not really a true man until he has gone to jail, that sort of thinking.

    So, what has this got to do with Maldives?

    I guess, I was thinking, wondering, if many staff may be laid off, productivity minimised, and the violent, resentful, "paartey gangster culture may become worse as the hopelessness grows.

    I mean, those from Male' are often racist against those from the outer islands, and already, overcrowding exists in Male'. So, many hopeful islanders who are laid off may feel hate towards Male' land owners intensify (or be rekindled if it was merely a thing of the past) as they are thrown off their properties for not being able to pay rent, and may be pushed to criminal activity if they cannot find employment.

    I can envisage crime, the re-ignition of tribal hatreds like never before, anarchy, and eventually, the need for another dictator.

    All that I am saying is, as well as creating minimum wages, please continue to seek investment so that both business can expand and minimum wage afforded. But more importantly, drum it into the heads of the business owners and wage payers that if you are just towards an employer, you will reap the best reward.

    What is needed to stop this thing from becoming the chaos it is in my country, is, a powerful cultural infusion of humanity in Government, which, by the way, I am very happy to say I see happening, slowly but surely, so keep it up!

  19. Lets analyse minimum wage laws with some logic and reasoning.

    Given that there r many school leavers competing for low level jobs, what happens if we make a minimum wage law?

    Suppose that a salesgirl might be hired for 3500rf by a small shop. And the shop hires o/l or those with less academic qualification or work experience because being a salesgirl does not require high level of skill. But if by a minimum wage law they are required to pay say 5000rf, then there is no reason for them to hire the low skilled one.

    If they have to pay 5000rf anyway, they will try to hire someone with more experience or higher academic achievement. This makes it difficult for those with least skill/education and experience to get a job! Mind you, these are the groups that are supposed to be helped by a minimum wage law!

    In effect, such a law basically is saying is if you cant find someone to pay you 5000rf (because of lack of education/experience etc) for your work, then you are not allowed to sell your labour. Such a law protects those with better skills from the competition from those with less skill.

    You are right, exactly same thing happend in aparthied south africa. The minimum wage law was mainly backed by the white racist unions because they did not want contractors to hire the low skilled blacks for low wages. The blacks were low skilled not because of their skin color, but because they have been denied education and opportunities and hence have low marketable skills.
    Here one quote from such a union:

    "There is no job reservation left in the building industry, and in the circumstances I support the rate for the job [minimum wages] as the second best way of protecting our white artisans"

    I am not saying there are no positive effects of minimum wage, but to assume everything is fine and dandy with a minimum wage law is disingenuous.

    There are far better ways of relief for the (working and nonworking) poor than hurting them with minimum wage laws. Collective bargaining or negative income tax for starters.

    Of the industrialised nations, Germany, Italy, Sweden and Denmark do not have minimum wage laws.

  20. Minimum wage at Rf 5000 will force me to make redundant at least 4 employees out of a total of 13. Those who have jobs will have to work harder as well to keep the business afloat. I fear a lot of people will get unemployed if the government takes such a crazy decision.

  21. Resorts are able to get unskilled workers from Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Srilanka for 250US$ which is already a reasonable convertable wage in means of their home currency. The labours who agree, join with best of their knowledge.

    What is the benefit for the employer to increase the salary when they can acquire sufficient unskilled workers? For employer its at their least concern whether they hire Locals or Foreigners unless the work is being done smoothly.

    Wages not to be linked with humanity.

    In my opinion instead of recommending minimum wage, the other facilities such as Good accommodation, atmosphere, relaxing facilities, well manners in treating, such things must be cared.

    These things assure humanity survive here.

  22. @Rinzy...not only that you would have to redundant workers....the maldivians you hire would have to take 30 min breaks 5 times a day plus 2 hours lunch plus ramdan and eid and haju holidays...and then bodu bandhu t o take kids and wife to native island and the frequent abcence to take mother to hospital, PTA meeting, wife to hospital etc

  23. To all PRO MINIMUM WAGE wishers
    1- We will see how many Maldivians will go into the construction industry to work
    2- Tell me how local small businesses will not go bankrupt?
    3- Maldivians dont even go finishing now when they get abt at least Rf7000? So will u be calling for a minumum wage of more then 8000 now?
    4 - Please dont start complaining when the prices of goods go up and also when the price of construction, hardware and material goes up.
    5 - If resorts pay minimum wage, I urge resorts to charge the workers for their accomodation and food + dont give them service charge as the minumum wage should be enough? right TEAM?

  24. @Egon
    Good points. Anyboday has clue how does TEAM conclude Rf.5000 as minimum wage? On what basis?


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