Kurumba workers on strike over poor staff facilities

More than 150 Maldivian and expatriate staff working at the Kurumba Maldives resort are on strike, complaining of poor staff facilities.

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.

A striking staff member told Minivan News that the 157 staff were striking over “low wages, pathetic accommodation, awful food, communication barriers between staff and management, and discrimination between local and foreign staff.”

“We have to sleep 10 people to one room, and we do not even have pillow covers,’’ he claimed, adding that the resort’s management had promised to upgrade staff facilities three months ago but had not done so to the extent demanded.

The Indian and Bangladeshi workers at the resort were “fully supportive” of the strike, along with the Maldivian workers, the source said.

“Only a few people are not taking part in the strike,’’ he added.

The strike was declared after a petition reportedly signed by 157 staff working on the island was presented to management, he said.

“In the petition we gave them a time limit and stated that we did not just want a verbal reply, however they failed to reply to us,’’ he said. “So we began the strike. We do not have confidence in the [resort] management, and the staff do not wish to speak to them. We want to speak with the Directors of Universal.’’

The striking workers had met with senior officials at Universal twice, he added, “and this evening they said they will give us a final response.”

Vice President of the Tourism Employment Association of Maldives (TEAM), Mauroof Zakir, said staff at Kurumba were demanding “very basic facilities that the management should provide.”

“Recently some Kurumba staff were dismissed after they sent management a letter with the intention of bringing the issues to their attention,” Zakir claimed.

Management at Kurumba Maldives declined to comment when contacted by Minivan News.

The story initially appeared on Velidhoo and the Maldives Resort Workers (MRW) blog.

“Despite catering for diplomats, prominent businessmen, and generally to an affluent clientèle, the resort has a tall list of [staff] grievances,” MRW wrote. “It is quite true that the staff of KV are low paid, poorly fed, and unlovingly accommodated. Then there is the little issue of over working staff without overtime pay which is brazenly against the labour law and accepted norms of business. The situation was quite the same for 38 years and now it appears the staff are protesting these conditions.”

In April staff at the Shangri-La Villingili Resort went on strike after four workers were dismissed for allegedly playing on a PlayStation in a vacant villa.

A person familiar with the matter told Minivan News that the four men, who were ‘villa hosts’ at the luxury resort in Addu Atoll, took their PlayStation to a vacant guest room during their lunch break, “double locked the door and put up a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign.”

The 60 staff who signed and presented a petition to the management demanding the villa hosts’ jobs be reinstated were dismissed and escorted to a nearby island by police, leading 157 workers to declare themselves on strike.

The strike was broken when resort management dismissed the 10 strike leaders and invited the remaining staff to return to work.

In February staff at the Centara Grand Island Resort in North Ari Atol held a strike complaining they were not receiving the service charges agreed to them by management, claiming that the resort had persisted in giving them a lower amount because “room revenue was very low.”  The resort increased the service charge allocated to staff after a representative from Ministry of Human Resources, Youth and Sports visited the island.

Image: Maldives Resort Workers


56 thoughts on “Kurumba workers on strike over poor staff facilities”

  1. Hey! do guy guys think that by sriking in a property such as a resort will solve your problems? U guys should read the labour Act and see whats written on it. This MAD guy EASA sitting at the majlis without reading the act is brainwashing young and hard working maldivians to act like fools. They act like robots and listen to this mad guy Easa who is trying to pursue is own agenda by trying calling strike at all maldivian resorts. Resort owners should all join hands and stand against this mad guy and his team who are working to destroy the industry. All what they do is to brain wash young energetic maldivians with false information.

  2. Looks like everyone (including UNIVERSAL) are unaware of the mistake they have made!

    Universal guys have been in stress acquiring money by the god-zillions as they say! And are a lot tiered!

    To relax in elderly age, they have been told to open a Company (their company) in Singapore and get them to manage all their resorts.

    This, they have done! They employed Singaporeans to MANAGE all UNIVERSAL ISLANDS!

    Singaporeans indeed are very capable peoples who have been taught to fend for themselves at a price!

    Singapore needs tourists to feed their population for sure! Treat the local staff of Universal Resorts this way, get staff mad like this! Tour operators will panic! The flow will be disbursed to the nearby nations where Singapore based operators are working!

    Puft! Universal as well as Maldives will crumble!

    When in fact Mr. Universal was in command of Kurumba, all was well! And he had Maldivian staff (especially Addu staff)! All was well!

    I am sure the Singaporean Management would have been warned that they must think of themselves first and their employers (Universal) there after!

    This could be a very crafted work of the Singaporean Management!

    Kurumba was the peak of Tourism ever since day one!

    Yes another thing could be blame staff, kick them off without paying!

    And rise like the Sphinx with a new face and value!!!!!

  3. that mad guy and is team tried to do all a favor and tried to raise there was against people who don't listen like you
    @mohamed wat an ignorant idiot you are. its not called brain wash. its called PEOPLE LIKE YOU WHO DOESN'T LISTEN NEEDS TO LISTEN. idiot.what in the world are the suppose to do when IDIOTS LIKE U DON'T LISTEN...THEY RISE THERE VOICE..IF YOU KNOW A BETTER THING TO DO THAN SPEAK UP IDIOT.

  4. @Daedalus all the other resorts have been doing good so far..so why can the universal ? you think you know too much but its not about the financial crisis. it never was. universal always treated there staff poorly. SO STOP BEEN A KNOW IT ALL IDIOT. GET YOUR FACTS RIGHT. NOT US

  5. @mad when did I claim to know too much? I'm sorry if I have offended you who apparently KNOWS how ALL the resorts are doing... Poor English, using caps, these are the signs of an activist and not a professional. I'll listen to you when you raise valid and factual issues. Till then enjoy your slander campaign.

  6. All these complaints and strikes really irritate the hell out of me, for crying out loud, wake up and get in the real world.

    If employees are not happy with what their employer is offering them, then they have free will to hand in their notice, find another job or go home. No one is holding a gun to there head!

    Times are tough in a recession, everyone needs to understand that, walking out and threatening guest safety is an embarrassment to the Hotel Industry.

    Working, living & financial conditions are fair points to raise, but these requests should be documented by one staff appointed representative to meet with senior management monthly in a professional format.

    The Universal Group is probably the best Company in Maldives that someone could be lucky enough to work for. The Universal Directors care more about their employees than I have seen in many places around the world.

    Please wake up and get a grip world… Maldives is not the only paradise holiday destination. Rumours and bad press like this will have such a negative effect on the Maldives economy and tourist arrival figures – what will be left? An entire country full of fisherman? I doubt that will help people’s financial situations and living conditions!


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