Kurumba management evacuates guests as strike talks deadlock

An ongoing strike at Kurumba Maldives resort near Male’ has prompted management to move the island’s guests to other resorts run by the Universal Group, while other visitors have chosen to leave the country.

More than 150 Maldivian and expatriate staff are on strike after complaining of poor staff facilities, low wages, unfair distribution of service charges and discrimination between local and foreign staff.

Assistant Human Resources Manager Ibrahim Hassan told Minivan News that no staff were currently working at the resort, as “almost all” were now involved in the strike action. Nearly 250 guests had been relocated to other resorts or had cut short their holidays and left the country, he said.

“At the moment [the strikers] are very calm. They are standing in front of the Human Resources [office] and not coming out of the staff area,” Ibrahim said.

“Yesterday it became serious when they came out of the staff area and threatened senior management. Some senior managers have [subsequently] left the island.”

A third meeting between staff and management yesterday failed to resolve the deadlock, he noted. No staff member had yet been dismissed, he added.

Police have meanwhile arrived on the island to monitor the situation. Police Sub-Inspector Ahmed Shiyam said a police team was sent after police received reports that management were being threatened.

A staff member on strike told Minivan News that the workers decided to continue the strike after management “did not give us an adequate answer” by the workers’ deadline of 4:00pm yesterday.

“Nobody is on duty and guests have complained about the poor services, so the management decided to transfer all the guests to other resorts,” he said.

Striking staff complain to senior managers

During the last meeting resort management had given the staff a written reply to their demands, promising the construction of a new staff accommodation block in September and the formation of a staff committee representing various departments.

“We have four main concerns: wages, service charge [payments], food and accommodation,” he said. “For food and accommodation they gave a pleasant answer. But regarding wages and the service charge, they could not give an adequate answer – they said they were revising the salaries but did not know when they could increase them.”

When staff said the response was inadequate, management replied they were unable to alter the decision, he said.

“That response caused outrage among staff and some of the senior management officials were forced to leave the island,’’ he added. “Police came to the island to control the situation.’’

The staff claimed they would strike until management fulfilled their demands, he said.

Sim Mohamed Ibrahim from the Maldives Association of Tourism Industry (MATI) described the industrial action at Kurumba as “a clear reflection of what little protection is provided to investors and businesses under the present laws pertaining to the conduct of business in the country.”

“The reality of the situation is that an investment of millions of dollars can be crippled andheld at ransom within a few hours by its own employees, whose grievances may or may not be real,” Sim said, adding that this situation had recently occurred in several resorts.

“The situation in Kurumba is a case in point. On Sunday August 22 the resort occupancy [percentage] was in the 80’s. Towards evening that day occupancy had fallen to less than 20% percent,” Sim said. “Tourists, tour operators and senior management have been too terrified to remain in the resort, and today the resort is empty.”

“There should be no ground for any party to reduce visitors and businesses in this country to a state of fear and terror, whoever may be at fault. The government must provide tourists and investors with adequate protection,” Sim said.

The Universal-run resort near Male’ is one of the oldest private resort islands in the Maldives, reopening as a five-star luxury resort in 2004 following renovation.


44 thoughts on “Kurumba management evacuates guests as strike talks deadlock”

  1. ANY POTENTIAL INVESTORS READING THIS: DO NOT INVEST IN THE MALDIVES. Its a country of savages. There are NO laws protecting YOUR rights. The Government is too busy appeasing a bunch of street criminals for their votes.

  2. this is wonderful news. power to the workers! power to the people who are the real owners of these islands! the workers must now start running the resort on their own and evict the managers.

  3. @ekeeeeez yes it is.cheating, cheating and cheating and no protection for foreigners that is modern business and life in Maldives it is very sad that managers of many resorts dont care about staff situation they think that staff is slaves.so Kurumaba, after other resorts will go on strike and maybe managment will understand that staff it is human and have a rights.but if not ,what will be in Maldives without tourists on resorts ? true democracy?hehehe

  4. @ekeeeez

    Your comment is invisible!

    Go fly a kite! It's trending now.

    Maldivians will STRIKE as and when they FEEL like it!

    You can't do a thing about it!

    If you can't digest it, call the doctor,call the doctor JUST NOW!

    But guess what they will never find the peanut!


    Because you ARE the peaNUT, rotten, yet!

  5. well i am very happy that kuruba staff had stood up for their rights, kolli people should learn a lesson treating staff like animals. Tourist should boycott universal company resorts in male'.

  6. heck on Mon

    Calm down. You have a right to strike and they have a right to boot you off the island and sack you.

    There is nothng you can do about it.Go eat a peanut and bring me my beer you rotten peanut.

  7. oh really. you guys only want protect the investors huh? we are citizens of maldives. not animals. we also has rights. if our rights are not given we will do the same. we are maldivians and i think you are too. so talk like a maldivian.

  8. I really dont know why I am always surprised to hear such ridiculous comments on this. I should expect this type of ignorance.

    To Siraj and Heck. I think you should tell all the hospital staff to go and get rid of all the experienced and educated docters and run the hospital themselves too. If the workers can run the resorts! Then the workers can run the hosiptals, schools and the government! We dont need people who are sucessful because they have worked hard to get where they are. We don't need people to manage us who are there because of their experience and hard work. EVERYTHING should be given to the the workers because they know the best and dont need to learn anymore to get better!!!

    Peanut on Mon above- a thumbs up to your rotten peanut comment!

  9. I think there should be a law for the resort owners who are investing millions of dollars into the tourism industry, and demonstrating staff are now threatening the whole tourism industry in the Maldives... Instead of demonstrating in front of the guests, they could have gathered in front of the Labour Ministry in Male'.

  10. so what exactly was the problem with the wages, accommodation and food? minivan news reporting poorly again...maybe a few bits about it can help us readers decide if their demands are reasonable and put forward better comments...

    now to go check if this is on haveeru!

  11. What? Workers are the 'real owners of the islands'? Isn't that going a bit too big?

    Workers are employees who have signed a contract where their salary and service charges are mentioned.
    They know from their first day of employment how they are being accommodated and how their food is going to be like.

    I do agree that everyone, whether Maldivian or foreign, whether laborer or top manager, should receive the same level of human treatment and get their basic needs and good food. If anything is going wrong in this (and we know that there are many resorts in the Maldives which are having the same problem) - it should be discussed, yes.

    But signing a contract, and later complaining about the conditions, invading guest areas and destroying the property - hugh?

    That's what the probation period is there for - the management will see if you are capable of doing your job, and you can see whether you like your working conditions.
    If you don't, you are free to leave the place and apply in another resort! There is no need for a demonstration ON the resort.

    Raise your problems to the management, to the owners, to the labour ministry, but keep the guests out of your problems. Such workers are a shame for the complete tourism industry in Maldives which we heavily depend on.

  12. the moment you raise those issues to the management you are automatically blacklisted... and will be fired automatically come next revival of contract...

  13. There are steps in conveying issues and concerns to management and owners without hampering the business and threatening human lives. it would have been a peaceful demonstration initially and if failed, go to another step. It's a pity that the guys became too emotional and lost the whole meaning of the process ending up damaging property and business. Political and other social involvements need to add to the equation. After all, we are humans and love to see everybody elses dirt having tons of your own. Tourism brings vast majority of income to the country and one triger may burn down the whole thing. Going on strike is the ultimatum and hope there will be a day people will understand the true meaning and power of the act.

  14. wages, service charge [payments], food and accommodation,”
    They are all supposed to be covered under the employee agreements. Employee agreements are supposed to abide by all the prevailing labour laws. Do not see any valid legal grounds for an employee strike, unless the management has violated a provision in the employee agreement. Accommodation can be justified if in accordance to the minimum standard as per the regulations of the Tourism ministry. Food could be a matter of argument, from nice, hygienic, good, reasonable, healthy, pr 3 star.
    Well after all we are baikakkaa kulhenee dho ;;;

  15. This is an over due strike which has to be taken long ago. Universal group never respect their Maldivian staff at all, they treat them live slaves. My father start working in Kurumba since 1979 after British left from Gan, what ever skills he had which he has learned from British, while working with them in Gan. He was getting salary of just Rf 183 after 3 decades of labor intensive work when he retired 2008 his salary was just Rf2000.
    I have seen staff quarters in Kurumba,open showers,dome with bunk beds over crowded. Ordinary staff never get good meals, its mostly Garudhiya and Mugu regularly.
    Just because this may tarnish the good name of of our lucrative business and tourism, what we common people get. I praise those who stood up against this tyranny and emperor who think they are untouchable.

  16. i am rialy proud of u all .we are maldivens .let them know not to play with fire.

  17. This something long over due. For 30 years this resort had used public funds interest free loans from mgtc / sstc Singapore. Carried all their cargoes freight free and abused all the employees from day one. This would have never been possible under Gayoom where universal and their share holders including Ilyas Ibrahim (20%) was protecting kolige clan. Let this place go bankrupt. We don't so called investors who use public money to develop their investments and abuse their workers. Universal had enriched themselves by abusing their employees. The workers must stand firm until their demands are met.

  18. Resort owners I know are drunk with power and are also often drunk on just plain old billion dollar alcohol. I have seen these resort owners drunk, and acting as though they are some great men for being able to drink so heavily, but in fact these so called men are really nothing but immoral cowards. Why? Because, in Maldives, very poor ppl who get caught with alcohol are often slung into prison, for merely dabbling, whilst the rich drink until they are sick and then support a Government (whether it be MDP or DRP) who refuses to challenge the blatant hypocrisy and social injustice which is the "LAW' in the Maldives. This law is simply this, the rich can do what they like, no moral or legal bounds. Just pay financially for your excesses. The poor, well, you will be crushed and forced into a position which is dehumanising, you have no choice, you have no freedom, complain, touch alcohol to relieve your pain, and you WILL SUFFER!

    I am surprised and shocked that some Maldivians could brag about Maldives being a Muslim country. It makes Islam look very, very bad. I am ashamed to associate Maldives with Islam actually, I would not dare let ppl know this corrupt oppressive tyranny is a Muslim country. It is damaging for Islam to call Maldives Muslim.

    The resort owners are greedy and have very aggressive ego's. I have no doubt that these workers have been dehumanised. I hope that the resort workers union could form an alliance with other workers and create a broader union movement and prepare a strategy and apply pressure for workers rights.

  19. Citizens of Maldives, not animals"? oh yeah you are right.. we are worse than animals...


    see the news about the maldives. your investment is not protected here. you might lose all the millions in a day.

    we will never change and never learn the economical dynamics of our own country. see also the comments of some true hardcore maldivians above still supporting the strike.
    dont waste your time and your money and better go to a country where you welcomed and appreciated. A country who wants to develop and go forward.

    SRI LANKA is open for business.:-)

  21. @corruption-sucks
    tragically, the humanity of many Maldivians has been reduced to law of the jungle type living... whilst you are correct, this fact that Maldivians are worse than animals is not innate, some bad conditions and situations have forced this, some bad decisions have lead to a violent path of hedonistic frienzy, lust for power, suspicion, hatred, lust, power hunger, selfishness, I think we know the rest... typical sub-animal like behaviour...

    but Maldivians are not animals... Maldivians are loved by Allah as they are his creation... The first step in winning our humanity back is by feeling sad for the situation and trying to re-elevate Maldivian life to dignity... I have nothing but compassion for the existential emptiness such a selfish life leads too...

    yet perhaps in another way the animal within has become so powerful it needs to be taken from a few through coercion...

  22. i have spends 1 years at kurumba maldives as a employe at 2008 as a foreigners and the end of first vacation i decide leave and i didnt back to kurumba even i still have another years contract...i have see what maldivian, bangledeshi and indian as a general workers receive and its true they get really poorly facilities and salaries..even we had a same service charge and food suply( almoust same kind of food everyday )..its worst..one point i quite agree with mosquito comment but thats not all the things..if this strike will bring something better why not..some time we as a human need fight for our right even i have saw to many demonstration that alwas bring more problem but i have see also thats bring new better change...but i hope this problem will end soon and both of staff and managemant will find win-win solution, so touritsm busines will not get a big effect from this thing because maldives and kurumba was a beautiful place

  23. Jameela : please double check your claim that Ilyas Ibrahim owns 20% share of universal. I suggest you speak to their lawyer. You will find this information incorrect. So sit in a corner and suck on a lemon you ignorant moron. This is all based on hearesay. if you want to come across as being even SLIGHTLY credible , you would REALLY CHECK YOUR FACTS.

  24. these resorts have been earning in millions for years, decades and they have not upgraded the wellbeing of their staff/workers who are also human beings to the same level of profits they've been hoarding on.
    so yes, its time to claim for the rights. im against TEAM supporting trivial strikes for foolish reasons, but basic rights are being violated in many maldivian resorts especially for Maldivians and i wholeheartedly support this.

  25. Jameela : WORKERS UNITED! POWER TO THE PEOPLE!!!!! RESORTS belong to the workers!!!!! Let all our COMMARADES in all the resorts rise up against the resort owners as the TRUE owners !!!!! Make EESAA GOD!!! lets bow down at his feet as our SAVIOUR!!!

    . what the **** do u think this is? its not a ****ing revolution YOU moron. if u want to be some freedom fighter go to Afghanistan and blow yourself up and take ANNI, GAYOOM, EEASA , Ilyas, the whole of Adaalath party and the all the Judges in this country with you u PEANUT. GO SUCK ON A LEMON.

  26. I, one of the petition signatories, want to apologize the directors, the guests and entire country for the disruption caused. It was not the idea to sabotage when we sign but to let the management know our concerns.

    There were outsiders who wanted to take advantage of this opportunity with the support of a few workers to ruin the business by sacring the guest and damaging the property.some workers wanted to take revenge from certain management staff whom they hated personally.

    We, who felt a petition would help to recognize our issues became victim to all this.

    we are very sorry for what happened and grateful for what we acheived while working in Kurumba all these years.

    We will help to identify those destroyers and outsiders to the owners and get them punished for what they did without our conscent.

    Owners / Management,
    This is not typical maldivian culture and attitude. Dont get angry with us and will help you to make things right. we will contact you in secret and expect our communication.

  27. It will happen here in the maldives it's the beggining coz all the mp's are under the businessman they were above the law & most of them were powerful mp's they influence the other mp's & controlling majlis it's a real example tax bill still in committe Mr. Qasim(burumaa) is the head of the committe it wil not happen coz he don't want pay tax from his business even staff salaries were paying mid month more than one year service charges was not giving to staffs.

  28. one of innocent Majority:

    what OUTSIDERS are you talking about?
    this is cleary a political game being played out . its hard to believe that this is NOT the maldivian nature. I have read the comments left here and there is no much venom and petty jealousy. A very sad and sorry state to be in.

  29. Universal was hatched and groomed in singapore by kola ali Maniku who ran the country with gayoom as his puppet. All the documents shows Ilyas had 20% shares disguised under his 1st wife Nasira. His earnings from universal were used to extend the lease of this island intend og giving it to Emirates who made it a condition to join air Maldives. Anyone who wants to defend Ilyas has a very thin record

  30. the real victims in all this are the workers who agreed to become puppets of Eesa and TEAM. Now they are without employment and their records tarnished. will TEAM come to their aid now?


  32. bodu sobu enburey gothah kudhi sobu thah enbureynee. similar drama is displayed by the president, cabinet and MP's. wait for a little while, this generation of young people will nicely learn portray what we are doing now. the constitution is just a bed-time fiction, the real law is jungle law, all taught by few cronies who wanted to come into power. adhi rangalhahves iloshigandu lolah hereyne.

  33. @ husein...
    well said hussein. its a very good point.
    they are all talking about human rights and bla bla... then why no one protects the bangalis, indians etc.??? we are so hypocritical dho. so sad.

    thanks for the good comment.

  34. well, talking about the loss for the resort owners, who experienced the life in kurumba for a normal staff no matter a bangalhi, indian, srilankan,or a maldivian! yeah most managements dosent sees it or they just turn their head and prettend that they dont see it. so when people start to strike some of us has a big hole in their face to say 'why strike??" "GET UP,STAND UP,STAND UP FOR YOUR RIGHT".. Bob Marley.

  35. our dear COMMRADES ('power to the people! yeaaah!!') should start advising the Bangali construction workers and their RIGHTS and lets see what happens.
    after all arent we all Brothers united in the same CAUSE?? or will there be a discrepency because they are 1) Bengali (and therefore entitled to live in bad conditions and (2)they are not in the tourism industry ; since tourism industry seems to be the only industry that these ''RIGHTS'' are limited to. What does the Great Leader, Mr Easa have to say on this?
    We Salute you Comrade!

  36. very good initiative this is the beginning of the end of the illegal immigration, unjust labour law, discrimination of our people and apartheid rules for white and colour, race and faith etc...

  37. Aziz- it sounds almost as though you want to drink alcohol yourself? Dont understand why you are focusing on that when this subject is about approving working conditions for staff. Can you stop brining in religon, it is boring. Keep religion out of business. Maldives use to be a peaceful Muslim country until the evil fanatics came in and destroyed our culture.

    Jameela - are you a communist? Please explain why the resorts should belong to the workers? i am very interested to know you theory on how it would work?

    Lastly, to One innocent Majority, I hope you do have your issues heard and the problems are solved on both sides.It is a shame that those people who were suppose to be working with you - turned it round to be about themselves and their personal revenge on certain staff.

    I think if you read the comments - One Innocent Majority - half of the comments hear are very clearly more about personal revenge then anything else.

  38. I think Universal must agree to improve the living conditions of these workers. They should force these crooks who paid peanuts for these resorts for the last 30 years. The same crooks with their money are keeping these bills at the Majlis where we cannot increase the revenue to the government. Anni must step in now and get these workers a fair deal and force the Majlis to pass the bill to increase revenue to the people. Anni we elected you to bring these injustices to a stop. The poor workers at Kurumba and other Universal resorts are waiting for justice.

  39. how this universal company came to rich...?? how they got a money..?? who is money..?? but after they got all money there like a ANIMALS even they don`t know how to treat to people...

  40. Jameela,

    so unprofessional! You certainly seem to have a personal problem with Universal! I would like you to show me the proof that Universal Resorts is the only company where the staff are no happy with their wages and their living conditions. Also we have once situation with Kurumba, you seem to know everything about the other resorts? Please do explain what you know and how you know, again i am very interested.

    HIsto - you ask a question and you answer it? what you doing? why ask a question when you aleady seem to know? again i would like to see proof of how you came to your conclusion on how they got their money.

    I feel sorry for the staff - there are no real supporters here, just people full of hatred and jealousy. I have only seen a couple of comments - explaining what the staff are unhappy about, and i think this is very important, however the rest - is just insane! nothing helpful! just hate!

  41. aamed
    i think ur working to universal company how much they have payed to you…????????

  42. aamed
    Ur misunderstanding you don`t know any about universal resorts..please get a right imformation about the vakarugey dharin

  43. im so sorry to hear about all the trouble.I love the maldives and the maldivian people .but you have to be very carefull how you handle the situation , it wont take long to spread and if it does , what bit of income youve got now , could be gone .

  44. I am visiting the kurumba later this year for the 5th time. The staff at Kurumba the main reason this resort is so well liked and people go back there again and again. The staff should be treated fairly by the owners!!


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