“Shangri-La strike will not end soon” warns TEAM

The strike over the dismissal of 65 staff members at Shangri-La Villingili Resort in Addu Atoll is still going strong with 157 staff members joining the strike and the support of the Tourism Employment Association of the Maldives (TEAM).

The strike began on 14 April when four villa hosts were dismissed by the resort for locking themselves in an empty guest room to play PlayStation.

Sixty-one other staff members signed a petition to reinstate the four dismissed staff, but instead, they were all escorted by police to Feydhoo in Seenu Atoll and dismissed from their jobs.

Since the strike began, they have been  joined by another 110 other staff members as well as members of TEAM. Over 157 people are now protesting at Feydhoo, hoping the management of Shangri-La will reconsider their decision and reinstate the 65 staff.

But Vice President of TEAM Mauroof Zakir doesn’t think it will be over soon, saying “it might last for another week.”

“Management doesn’t want to change their decision,” he said, noting that the strike is still going strong and is “well organised.”

Zakir said the PlayStation was originally brought at a guest’s request, but the guest said something was wrong with the console. He said the four staff went into an empty guest room—noting all the rooms around it were empty “so there would be no disturbances”—and were checking the console.

“They acknowledged they started to play a football game for about 5 or 10 minutes,” Zakir said, but claimed the resort’s management did not deal with the situation “as they should have.”

“After 45 minutes, they had made their decision [to dismiss the villa hosts],” Zakir said.

He said a number of staff then went to the Human Resources department to demand resort management reinstate the four staff members, but management refused.

“We are still trying to negotiate with management,” Zakir said, “but they don’t want to negotiate with our demands.”

He said management then decided to fire everyone who had taken part in petitioning for the reinstatement of the four staff members, and called police to have all 65 staff escorted to nearby Feydhoo.

Shangri-La Villingili Resort
Shangri-La Villingili Resort

Zakir said the 65 dismissals were unlawful as staff were given no warning and no termination letter. He added that since the incident took place, they have been receiving informal messages from resort management that all staff who joined the protest will be fired, too.

“[Management] is still trying to protect their decision,” Zakir said, “they wanted to investigate the case but they don’t want to discuss it [with us].”

Zakir said the resort management was scheduled to have another meeting tomorrow and they were bringing in people from the company’s head office.

He added that the resort needed to not only reinstate all staff but also the trade union.

“Under the Constitution, we have the right to protest and freedom of association,” Zakir said.

He said because the Maldives is a member of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), they had the right to form unions, and he said he hoped the ILO “might step in” and help resolve the situation.

“They won’t give up and neither will we,” Zakir stated.

Shangri-La’s Director for Communication Leslie Garcia said the resort is “running smoothly and operating as normal,” and added the investigation is currently ongoing.

She said management is “working closely with local government authorities” and was trying to solve the issue, but would not give any comments or details regarding the strike or what measures were being taken to resolve the problem.

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31 thoughts on ““Shangri-La strike will not end soon” warns TEAM”

  1. My apologies if I sound condescending, but the dismissed staff deserved it. Some things can happen only in Maldives. TEAM seriously believes that the staff were ‘checking the console’ of the PS behind closed doors? Why didn’t they leave it to the techies? I worked in Maldives, managing a resort, and I can say it here that the attitude of Maldivian staff is wanting. If I had it my way, I’d have hired expats 100%. We hired Maldivians just to comply with regulations, and we considered it money down the drain, because a majority of Maldivians just don’t want to work the arses off like everyone else. That said, I should not generalize. There were some superb performers who were Maldivian. In fact one of my most reliable staff was Maldivian – but that’s a rare breed. The management of Shangri-La should not be cowered by people who think an income is charity but not earned.

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  2. I totally agree with @Italian ... , I used to work in a resort myself, and unfortunately, even being a Maldivian I have to agree on the negative things on Maldivians highlighted on the above comment, which actually lead us (who truely want to work hard and build a career in the industry) to be perceived as being the same! I know some of them don't generalize us, but a lot of the resorts and hotels in Maldives do not hire or trust Maldivians for good positions due to the fact that so many of us are so lazy!!! Sadly, we, who really want to work hard, suffer!
    I am sorry to say but, those staff deserve it! Why should they even be in a guest room when they are not allowed, this common sense!! I hope Shangri-la does not back down and give in!

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  3. What alarms me is the imprudence and lack of remorse on their transgression. In what other nation will you find such foolish arrogance and misguided sense of entitlement can but the small atolls of the Maldives? Having spent years in the country as a foreigner I can attest that this is deeply characteristic of the local moral fibre. Adding this to the novel idea of "protest" and "freedom" which only recently presented themselves to the Malividian youth, this incident is but one among many nuisances investors can expect from their employees in the years to come.

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  4. Above story are twisted..Put on your common sense..would you go into a guest villa, double lock the villa, put on a DND sign just to test the console? Is one console need to be tested by 4 staff? Is one have to cook food and test the console..The person making the explanation above does not use his brain to think that his story have million of loopholes..If you want to lie, make a perfect story without loopholes....By the way, why is no one making the news of these butler beat up the housekeeping staff and make death message to the housekeeping staff. Why is no one making the story of these 65 staff run into the guest villa at 3am and tryng to do harm to the guest? Is TEAM encourage violent against other staff and the guest and support violent activities all around the resort to harm the visitor that come here? These are the important thing all of us have to consider if we want maldives to move forward.

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  5. I am one of the walker family and on behalf of my family, I am ashame of what my fellow friend are doing to Shangri-La..I work hard and I got promotion. I want to work more hard and become a manager one day..my friend are destroyed my hard work. I think if the 4 villa host work hard and not sleep and play in villa..they will get promotion to manager too. Shame on u villa host

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  6. i work in a resort management and there's no way i'd agree to reinstate those villa attendants who were 'checking a ps console' behind a double locked doors in a vacant guest villa. those who think they can do whatever they want in resorts are increasing because of the irresponsible support TEAM gives to those who go on strike without a valid reason.

    until shangri la was open, addu people considered villingili was their only hope for a better life. they blamed the government for not opening resorts but as soon as the resorts are open, they go on strike damaging the reputation of the resorts. considering what happened in herethere and now what is happening in villingili, addu is more or less an unsafe area for tourism investors.

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  7. Agree with Italian gentlemen!
    This is just one of those immature moves by Maldivians. Its easy to be deluded with still vague ideas of having rights...
    No one seems to ask what the heck were the staffs doing in a guest room. Whatever happened later is a consequence of that. people need to start taking responsibility.

    Im appalled by Maldivian staffs working in the resorts myself. Most of the guys are just junkies who know nothing but to complain. No commitment to work, no motivation and responsibility, but on the other hand there are some expat workers who is equally damaging and un-enlightened...
    TEAM is a failure and they keep showing it... do us all a favor and admitt the mistakes done and ask for the job back nicely.keeping in mind that employee and employer have a clear understanding of the roles of both parties...

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  8. Agree with above, having worked in the Maldives it is such a shame to see that nothing has been learnt and that certain individuals are adamant in destroying their own country and its reputation. When will they learn to talk things through rationally or that the government wakes up and takes necessary action. Which of course will never take place. We live in the 21st Century not the stone age!

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  9. It is a shame that TEAM is supporting the protest without investigated the truth behind the termination.In summary, they have blindly support a cause with out fact. All TEAM members should look into the mirror and ask..am I deserve the respect from all resort workers and most important the employer? Because with that respect, the employer will listen to TEAM whenever they make a comment. How to gain respect from both side? First TEAM must set a principle to themselves. Support those who are in right and not support those guilty even if they are our brothers/sisters..with track record of this actions, the whole country and all employers will notice TEAM hard work..not all matters have to resolve in violent protest!!! Now what we see TEAM doing is organized protests everywhere and supporting of the violent that these 65 staff doing to their guests (who paying for their salary)..Not mentioning the silent acceptance of these 65 employees beating up their peers and manager in the resort and in Male..TEAM also spreading false information on news to target those who does not know the truth. These 65 employees has terrorized the people of Feydhoo and TEAM are supporting them. Feydhoo people should come out and tell these 65 employee to go home and tell TEAM that in future investigate the truth before making any action..You loose creditbility in our eyes..

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  10. Blaming Maldivian by foreigners is always a common trend in the Tourism Industry. Instead of playing fair game they always criticize the local staff in order to exploit the Maldivian job market. There is no difference between local and expatriates in the Maldives both are lame. We don’t get quality expatriates.
    Maldivians need respect and to be treated same as the expatriates in order to motivate them.

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  11. The failure of the work ethics of Maldivians is evident in every sector, not just the tourism. Then we have irresponsible and politically motivated groups such as TEAM supporting such irresposible behavior and thereby encouraging more Maldivians to join in the strike, rather than trying to make them see that they were wrong to begin with. This is just so typical, the Maldivian workers today have no ounce of respect for their seniors, and they seem to think that its their "right" to do anything and everything that they want to do.

    Its a real shame that the image of all Maldivian workers is completely destroyed today because of the acts of such selfish people who expect easy money without any real work.

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  12. On no account should those 4 be reinstated. What they did was totally out of order and deserve summary dismissal.

    TEAM can blow a lot of hot air and can go on striking forever. Who cares? Let them enjoy their new found freedom to 'express themselves'. They think the ILO is going to come to help them? What a bunch of idiots!

    The resort management can bring in cheaper, hard working foreigners to replace the lazy, unethical locals!

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  13. Employment laws should, in principle, protect law-abiding employees. Not work-shirkers who feel that any action on their part is beyond reproach in lieu of the fact that they are Maldivian and deserve special treatment. Selective employment for Maldivians is, I feel, meant to provide economic opportunities, NOT provide cash handouts for people with no sense of work ethics. Organized labor unions will of course work towards furthering the rights of employees. However, they should get a better spin doctor in this case as all above have noted.

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  14. Agree with the resort rules. The people who locked themselives to play PS3 really does deserve the sacking. And TEAM SHOULD realize that!!!

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  15. First of all there should be a reason why those employees went on strike for dismissing some bad guys you can’t blame the workers, the management should be responsible for creating an environment for employees to behave in this way. These employers are not archangel. All are corrupted people.

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  16. TEAM should be more responsible, when the staff are in the wrong TEAM should not be supporting them. They should contribute to making the Maldivian work ethics better instead of making even lazy no good workers think its all right to protest at every damn incident.

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  17. In tourism industry we the Maldivians are treated like slaves.This is our country and this is the nation our forefathers had lived no foreigner should be allowed to raise voice any Maldivian in this nation.It might be the right thing to fire the guys who went into the room but its not right to fire the rest of the staff because they protested.
    It is a pity that foreign journalists target local policies and exploit the media using corrupt websites like Minivannews which is bias and full of foreign hypocrites who had done nothing but creating chaos spreading incorrect information about Islam and Maldivians.
    The website is used as a tool to spread their corrupt views and to create a window where the hypocrite can spread their unislamic culture..

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  18. TEAM should me much more responsible. they have to investigate what went wrong. then comment on the situation. Money is earned. if people have got attitude problems. then they have to expelled.

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  19. Most probably Shangri-la will be chased out. Real shame.

    Hope you Maldivian idiots are happy being unemployed. Go back to fishing.

    Am a Maldivian and I don't mind working under a foreigner as long as they are more qualified than myself.

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  20. Rilwan on Tue, 20th Apr 2010 12:13 PM wrote "In tourism industry we the Maldivians are treated like slaves."

    that's an out right lie. in fact in most places we are treated better than bangladheshis and other south asians. it is also a fact that the maldivians do treat south asian workers very badly. most of the recreational facilities in resorts are used by the maldivians. the expats seldom get a chance to play anything. i have had a maldivian HOD who didnt want to share room with a foreign HOD based on his nationality.

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  21. i used to work in the tourism ministry. i know very well how foreign management treats maldivians..

    look at maldivian managed resort such as bandos, villa resorts.. the staff issues are handled well. and even foreign managements like soneva, conrad, huvafen fushi, big w. manages their hr well.

    some resorts neglect to provide good or adequate working environment. every management will have hr issues, but the difference is how its managed.

    In most resorts, the staff are underpaid and staff accomodations are just appalling and with no other bennefits, and they expect to work as if there is nothing else.

    yes you can get expat way cheaper, thats because of the cost and living standards in their country.. its like you getting mexicans to work in usa. and such comments here reminds me of imperial time, back where, slaves or cheap labors were moved from one country to another.

    and for the italian person, i should say, i witnessed italian management extracting corals, and using beach sands and coral for construction. and in my personal opinion some foreign management just disrespect the island's environment. its a shame.

    the maldives tourism concept is very different from any other country. in here we dont have hotel, where a staff just go off after their shift. but instead they stay in the resort, its like their second home.

    i could go on writing how maldivians or expatriates are treated in maldives tourism industry. i dunno why shangri la is having difficulty in managing their hf. after all some multinational companies have successful entrance into newer markets by proper planning.. but some multinational fails too.

    in this situation. TEAM must draw a line on which circumstances it should intervene. staff are not always right or the management.

    all comments against my comment is ignored as i dont believe there is any basis to comment against my comment, but just ignorance..

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  22. first of all as the resort has not shared the information with the TEAM they are only hearing one side of the story. Team is only spoiling the local tourism work force by encouraging them to strike without having the correct information. Team was formed within One & Only Reethi Rah to help and gain support fir the owners political party DRP.but this thin became too big and Thasneem could not controll and back fired.
    As a local & a tourism employee for 16 years and had firdt hand knowledge of Room Attendants i must agree with the action taken by the resort, but the way it has happened may has some questions to check.
    Many expacts has given very bad picture of our work force. These expacts should understand until yesterday they were given the very best facilties on the resort and locals were kept as slaves. Even today there are resorts where the expacts get 20% of their salary as hardship bonus.if any one look at the situation expacts are in better facilties than locals and earn higher wages and netter benefits. we locals are too not working in our home land and live on the resort island away from our families and parents. with difficulty we may able to see the death man's face. this is our situation, but the 20% hardiship bonus is still paid to these expacts. if any one really checked the performance of an expact with the Localm, the performance of the local will be much higher compare to the money the resort spend on the expact.
    We Locals must adhere to good working ethics and work for a common goal to eliminate the EXPACTS from our tourism work force. I believe this is possible.
    the Government must introduce strict regulations on checking the reorts and facilities. the tiny girls who are visiting the resorts to check the facilties never check the staff facilities with high scrutiny. they take a special lunch in the alarcart restaurant and walk around the resort with the manger for an hour and that is it.why not they visit resorts without knowing the resort owners. why not they have their meals with the local staff at the staff mess. Why not they stay on the resort and have interviews made with locals without knowing the ,anagement. Why not Human Reource ministry higer Foreign Auditing firm to check on these. Send different people to resorts for 2 to 3 nights and see how things are in these resorts. Otherwise there is no day that things will be better in the resorts for the locals.
    We are ready to assist the ministry to check the staff facilities in the resorts if the ministry organizes such a force. We have the experties and the knowhow to look where and how. we know where the managements fall short and can pull. Ministry needs the real people to go for that.

    LASTLY I REQUEST OUR PRESIDENT TO INTERVENE THE SITUATION AND TO ISTRUCT THE MINISTRY TO FORM SUCH A FORCE TO CHECK THE RESORTS AND THE MEMBERS OF THE FORCE MUST NOT BE EMPLOYEES FROM THE MINISTRY AND FULLY INDEPENDANT. THEY SHOULD BE GIVEN THE MAXIMUM REQUIREMENT LEVELS AND THEY MUST PREPARE THEIR REPORT AND PRESENT THIS TO MISTRY AND THE MEDIA AND GIVE THE RESORT A TIME FRAME TO UPDATE THE FACILTIES.

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  23. @ Italian...Thank god u r not working in Raajje anymore. Unlike what was possible in India by the Brits...we Maldivians will not have boards that say "Maldivians & dogs not allowed"...

    i also know many of the foreign and even some Maldivian resort owners wud prefer to get rid of all Maldivians and replace them with cheap labor from Bangladesh or India or some place....but TEAM and other concerned Maldivians will not let that happen...

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  24. Thun- bibee and the guys who had raised their voice against the Maldivian brothers who had been fired by Shangri La management.I don't know if you have ever worked in the tourism field.I had worked in the field for six years and i myself had witnessed racism and ill treatment.Yes,Asian people are treated as garbage in tourist resorts and in local companies.I agree that Bangladeshi's,Indians and Sri Lankan's are treated worse compared to Maldivians.We don't hear stories of these people because they have no one beside them to fight for their rights.How many Bangladeshi's,Indians and Sri Lankan's i have witnessed crying and begging because they have gone bankrupt.They sell their property and come here to work and you go back without being paid a penny.
    But Minivan news had voiced out when an American was deported when he was caught preaching Christianity.Europeans and Westerners they come here and they wanna show their attitude and they kinda believe that they are an higher race or something.They don't like to work under a coloured person.THIS DOESN'T GO TO ALL EUROPEANS AND WESTERNERS.THEY ARE DECENT PEOPLE AS WELL. The world itself is a witness to the cruelty of these two groups of people.If you read the history of Australia,South Afirca,USA and small Islands in Pacific and Atlantic you see how they wiped out the natives of these countries to build their own empires.They might call them savages.But who are the real savages.For example look at South Africa,how many men and women was tortured and massacred by these people(BOERS).Look at Iraq in the name of peace how many young children Americans massacred in Iraq.Look at the aborigines of Australia and the status of them now.They were the natives but they have to beg for everything.
    Some foreigners here in the Maldives think that they can go on and say anything to our religion and to our people.Beware that the road you are traveling is a slippery path.We will not tolerate this bullshit anymore?

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  25. It is confirmed that last night, the Shagrila bus was attacked by those who support the violent against shagrila. the bus was full of our maldivian brothers. These attacker are no doubt from those people who support the dismissed staff example: TEAM.

    I am so ashame of TEAM that encourage violent towards their our own people who just want to do our job and who want to be somebody someday. we just want to do our island proud but now we are seen as a gangster who know only violent. I ask all our true brother and sister in Addu to come out and stop these protesters and stop TEAM to use this protesters to do their dirty work.

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  26. Don't you expats have any new an improvised phsycological stunt than "Maldivians are lazy" to gormandize on your jobs which you steal from us?

    You are asking us to earn high positions if we can, as if nothing will stand in our way?!

    I would like all you silly commentors to have a look at a famous case at the airport.

    Few days ago the position of an airport manager at Emirates airways in Male' Airport lay vancant due to the resignation of the Maldivian manager there. But grapewine has it that the Shri Lankan General Manager there did not want a Maldivian to succeed to that job. So he hired a fellow Shri Lankan compatriot to come and fill the position and because of this all Maldivan staff there had resigned as a protest!

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  27. The main problem is that most of employers in the Maldives are ignorant and acts like mafia thugs. They don’t realize that the employees one integral part of any organization and they are also the assets of the company.
    The same way they struggle to make customer oriented environment to make money they should also put same efforts to make employees oriented environment in order to reap the highest yield in the business.
    These thug styled business men do not know that we are living in 21st century and slavery is not accepted.
    The Maldivian workers may not have work ethic, due to less development in social and economic field in the country. You can’t blame them for this short coming.
    Now that with a new freedom, the employees are trying to gain the lost pride and these employers instead of making them pride in working, make the situation worse by downgrading and demoralizing the staff.

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  28. was not it the first time they have played play stationm in the villa? if so why all of sudden the resort have thrown them out ? seriously HR of SHangrila fails... this was an extrem fail .. .hahah.. wonder who is the Human resources manager in Shangrila??

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  29. Well done! Shangri-La for for this theatrical act of replacing Maldivian workers with cheap Bangaldeshi labour!

    Now tell me. What is the percentage of Maldivian labour force there? Is it within the stipulated rules.

    Get the hell out of Addu Villingili - we can earn more money by rearing chickens in the island than your 'five million star resort'

    You greedy little schemers!

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  30. Congratulations ShangriLa you are one of only two resorts in the Maldives to have made it onto that racist and biased "Conde Nast Traveler (US) Hot List 2010"

    http://www.concierge.com/tools/travelawards/hotlist/2010/hotels/asia/504690?id=504690&lastUrl=/tools/travelawards/hotlist/2010/hotels/asia

    You and these anti Muslim Americans gang up to continually insult us hardworking Maldivians.

    “The young staff are multicultural and energized, though the indifferent Maldivian villa hosts could use more lessons in hospitality“

    We should turn Addu Villingili into a chicken farm then we can get bangladeshi's to shovel the shit while we play with ourselves and our playstations.

    The British knew how good us Adduans were - and now we're even better.

    We stand by our motto "Nowhere is Now here"

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