Tourism workers’ association commits to “prolonged” strikes if Maldives vote delayed

The Tourism Employees Association of the Maldives (TEAM) has threatened “prolonged” strike action at resorts across the Maldives should the second round of the presidential election not be held as scheduled on September 28.

In a statement released today, TEAM – an industry body representing some 5000 workers across the country’s luxury resorts – said the Supreme Court order issued Monday (September 23) delaying the run-off vote “destroys the principles of democracy we have embraced and voids articles of the constitution.”

“Given that a majority of our members desire the second round of elections to be held on September 28, we call on the Supreme Court and relevant state institutions to uphold the constitution, to aid the election and not to hamper it,” TEAM stated.

“With due respect, we would like to inform the relevant authorities that if this does not happen, that if [the election] is delayed, it will adversely affect our members, and we will not hesitate to hold a prolonged strike to strengthen democracy and uphold human rights.”

TEAM’s statement came a day after the resort industry body, the Maldives Association for Tourism Industries (MATI), issued a statement warning of “irreparable consequences” to the Maldivian economy unless the run-off election is expedited.

“It is absolutely important to expedite the election and settle the issue or else there would be irreparable consequences to the Maldives, and especially to tourism which is the backbone of the economy. Therefore, it is important for everyone to see the importance of this in the interest of the country at large,” said MATI Chairman M U Manik, one of pioneers of the country’s 40 year-old tourism industry.

MATI’s statement was issued following Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) candidate Mohamed Nasheed’s call for tourism workers – predominantly MDP – to strike should the run-off election scheduled for September 28 was delayed.

Nasheed emerged as the front runner in the first round of polls – held September 7 – with 45.45 percent (95,224 votes), followed by Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) candidate Abdulla Yameen who received 25.35 percent (53,099 votes).

JP candidate and resort tycoon Gasim Ibrahim narrowly missed out on the run-off with 24.07 percent (50,422), and contested the results at the Supreme Court alleging electoral fraud despite unanimous positive assessments of polls by local and international election observers.

The ongoing Supreme Court case has now heard the closing arguments from representatives of the JP and Elections Commission, with a verdict scheduled for the next hearing.

Industry significance

The tourism industry is indirectly responsible for upwards of 70 percent of the Maldives’ GDP, and a substantial majority of Maldivian resort workers support the MDP.

Results from resort ballot boxes in the first round revealed overwhelming support for the MDP’s candidate, even at many properties owned by Nasheed’s political opponents such as Vice President Waheed Deen’s Bandos Island Resort (51 percent MDP).

The trend was particularly notable at prominent international chains in the luxury tourism sector, famous for providing relaxing and idyllic escapes for honeymooners, including Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort and Spa (58 percent MDP), Dusit Thaani Maldives (73 percent MDP), Conrad Maldives Rangali Island Resort (62 percent MDP), and One and Only Reethi Rah (75 percent MDP).

Tourism Minister and PPM Deputy Leader Ahmed Adheeb meanwhile told local media this week he would not allow politicians to sacrifice the tourism industry and its workers, and appealed to staff not to strike.

“They plan and involve the tourism industry every time there is political turmoil, every time things do not happen as they want. They called for a tourism boycott in international media. There were effects from that. We are seeing the same thing now. We cannot allow any politician to involve the tourism industry in politics. We cannot allow politicians to sacrifice the tourism industry and its workers every time things are politically turbulent,” he told newspaper Haveeru.


9 thoughts on “Tourism workers’ association commits to “prolonged” strikes if Maldives vote delayed”

  1. I totally agree with tourism workers association and would call for other institutions to follow suit.

    We cannot be ruled, governed, dictated and destroyed by a bunch of judges with their affiliations.

    No elections, means strikes all over the country. Only staff managing utilities and medicals should not strike

  2. No elections, no work. Hit these turds where it hurts. They only care about money and have no concern for the welfare of Maldivians.

  3. This is a good example for others to follow. Gasim's Gang of Four in the Supreme Court cannot trample upon the rights of thousands of Maldivians. We have waited for two years to bring back democratic rule.

    Come November 11th, Ali Hameed had better take up residence at his favourite brothel in Colombo or anywhere else in the world for that matter.

  4. Why not ask all workers in the country to go on a general strike? Why target the tourism industry alone?

    Is it the fault of the tourism industry that the elections are being delayed? Is there anything the tourism industry can do to expedite the elections?

    Whenever there is any political dispute in this country, why is it that MDP targets only the tourism industry?

    Now you may say its Gasim's fault. Then go ahead and target his resorts and ask his staff to go on strike. Or why not ask the civil servants to go on strike? Or others?

    But I guess the greed for power is too great for any sanity to prevail. It is now obvious that Nasheed would rather bring this nation to its knees then acting wisely.

  5. Go on and strike. We don't care. We shall rule no matter what. Police and Military will not cooperate and our coalition members will be taken care of well to disrupt elections if held on 28th. You think we will be scared of Indiam man or wars coming to Male' ? He he

  6. Hissain Manik

    What you should be afraid of, is the common citizen, whose rights your coalition has hijacked. Go on, prevent the election on the 28th from happening.

    Walk right into our trap.

  7. Strikes are what corrupt politicians fear the most. You can let police and armies beat and kill people on the streets, but if work stops, where will the corrupt politicians and judges find the people to beat, pepper-spray and tear gas?

  8. corrupt politicians calling for strikes that will bring the whole country to a stop, so that they can grab power from other corrupt politicians.corrupt politicians will be the least affected,they already have lots of money!

  9. what the heck, what are the civil society of maldives doing the biggest employer is the government all government workers should strike to have any impact


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