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