The Maldives Transport and Contracting Company (MTCC) closed the company’s Addu Mulaku regional office in Seenu Feydhoo, leaving many employees redundant.
MTCC closed the office after the government handed over ferry services for the region to MVK Maldives Pvt Ltd, which commenced services from 1 January.
But many employees from the Feydhoo office feel their terminations have been handled unfairly, holding a demonstration and refusing to allow MTCC to take assets from the office.
An employee who did not wished to be named said “We did not want them to take any of the things back to Male’ until our full salaries and compensation has been paid.
“However, it’s a private party that’s transporting the goods back to Male’ so we don’t want to cause any more trouble. They have already loaded everything onto a boat, and there isn’t much we can do to stop it.”
Many employees said an MTCC official from Male’ had met them at the end of last year and promised a three month termination notice.
“He said we would get three months, as well as holiday and medical pay, but a week after he left we received one month’s notice,” the employee said.
“We have a written document, but it doesn’t have the MTCC stamp on it so we can’t use it in court.”
The staffed also claimed they had received a much smaller amount than that promised.
Another staff member who was made redundant said “how can I describe how I’m feeling? I have a family to look after. It’s very difficult now.”
A disgruntled employee said he had been forced to beg around the island.
“I am doing odd jobs here and there – it’s very hard to find work these days,” he said.
Ahmed Zareef, the manager of the Feydhoo office, said that the MTCC manager who promised three months’ notice hadn’t given anything official, “It was just his word.”
“The notice said employees should receive Rf3000 (US$233) but many have recieved Rf1900 (US$147). It’s a big loss for these men, they have families to take care of.”
Asked what would happen to him, Zareef replied “I will lose my job as well. I was offered an MTCC job in Male’, but how can I live in Male’ on a basic salary when the living expenses are so high there?”
Ahmed Zaki, another MTCC manager, said that the company follows employment regulations set by the government.
“The employment regulations state that all employees who have been with the company between one to five years will get a one month notice,” he said.
“The stories of an official from Male’ saying three months are hard to believe. He would not have said that.”
“All employees were given opportunities in MTCC in other regions,” Zaki added.
“We have also been talking to the employees for a few months prior to the termination notices, telling them about the possibility of the Feydhoo office closing.”