Civil servants opt to strike

The Maldives Civil Servants Association (MCSA) has said that a large numbers of its members have requested to take strike action over reduced public sector salaries.

The government had pledged to reduce the salaries of civil servants along with the amount it pays independent commissions as part of attempts to slash costs during an era economic uncertainty.

By last year, civil servants demanded to have their salaries restored by 2011 and also demanded to add the restored salaries to this year’s budget.

President Mohamed Nasheed had said that the civil cuts were possibly to have been revoked by the end of last year.

However, it is the salaries of independent commissions that have been restored, alongside proposed hikes in the wages and privileges afforded to MPs, leading to protests across Male’ during the last few days from various groups.

”The majority of the civil servants want to be on strike, they are unhappy about the reduced salaries,” said Abdulla Mohamed, Spokesperson of the MCSA. ”They wish to stop work for five days.”

Mohamed said that the association had informed the Civil Service Commission (CSC) about the strike last Thursday, but added that it had yet to responded to the association on the matter.

”We do not have much hope that the salaries will be restored,” Mohamed said. ”Nobody seems to realise the importance of civil servants, so when they stop their work, people will understand the services they deliver.”

The MCSA has said that it hopes the strike action will bring the issue of civil service cuts to the attention of the government and the wider international community.

”We know the strike will not restore salaries for the sector and we also understand it is no solution,” the MCSA spokesperson added. “But we just want to bring it to the attention of the international community and the government.”


CSC and finance ministry hold talks to resolve salary dispute

After months of trading blows in the media, the Civil Service Commission (CSC) and the finance ministry met this morning to discuss the restoration of civil servants’ salaries.

However neither party would reveal what was discussed in the meeting, saying only that the issue remained undecided and another meeting would be held.

”We do not want to comment on this yet,” said Mohamed Fahmy Hassan, a CSC member who has advocated discussions between the CSC and the ministry.

State Minister for Finance Ahmed Assad also refused to reveal what was raised in the meeting, but said was expecting the discussions to lead to a solution.

Both Assad and the finance controller from the finance ministry were present at the meeting.

In response to the silence, spokesman for the Maldivian Civil Servants Association (MCSA) Abdulla Waheed said he was convinced the discussions would not lead to a “beneficial” solution and that the finance ministry was simply seeking to extend the period of reduced salaries.

”The CSC might agree to keep the salary lowered till the parliament re-opens,” Waheed predicted, threatening a law suit against the CSC if the outcome of the discussions was deemed “an injustice”.