An estimated 150 employees of the state-owned Maldives Airports Company Limited (MACL) demonstrated over discrimination in bonus payouts today.
The protests started on Tuesday morning after leaked documents indicated senior management and an estimated 200 staff members working at the duty free shops were to receive a percentage of profits while other employees were only to receive an amount equivalent to their basic salaries.
Speaking to Minivan News, a staff members who took part in the protests said senior staff and duty free staff were to receive up to MVR80,000 (US$5188) while most staff members were to receive between MVR6000 (US$389) and MVR15000 (US$972).
“Around 1900 employees are to receive an amount equivalent to their basic salaries, which comparatively is a very low amount. Their [management] justification is that duty free employees reached a profit target. But there are others who work as hard, and earn the company as much money in other departments,” she said.
A handful of senior level employees in some departments would receive between MVR25,000 and MVR50,000 (US$1621 – US$3242), she said.
“This is a huge difference, a huge discrimination which is against the company’s general human resource policy. Most of us are giving our hundred percent to the company, and our work brings in as much money as the duty free staff,” the protesting staff member said.
The demonstrations were peaceful and not intended to obstruct airport operations in the airport, she continued.
“We stood up for our rights, we are not against the management nor did we have any intention to obstruct the operations here. We were demanding an explanation.”
Managing Director of MACL, Ibrahim ‘Bandhu’ Saleem, met the protesters yesterday and told them the company board will hold discussions and reach a decision on the matter as soon as possible.
In response, protesters today demanded a deadline for the decision. Subsequently, the company issued a circular stating that bonus payouts will be revised and a decision will be made before August 31. The circular was changed a second time to specifically mention that the issue will be resolved in an equitable manner on the protesters’ demands.
An MACL spokesman told Minivan News today that the leaked document was not an official one and no decisions have been made yet over the distribution of bonuses.
“The management have discussed the issue with the protesting staff members now and it is settled. Everyone has gone back to work. It all started with a leaked document, which is not final in anyway. The bonus amounts would be announced before August 31,” he said.
The decision to grant annual bonus to employees was made after a staff members protested its discontinuation in March. At the time the employees also raised the issue of the poor quality of food provided at the staff cafeteria.