Lithuanian ‘island of blondes’ to be shaped like giant high-heeled shoe

Ambitious plans by Lithuanian mega-brand Olialia to develop an ‘all blondes’ resort – in the shape of a gigantic high-heeled shoe – have entered phase two, after the company reported that a delegation had visited the Maldives and selected three islands suitable for the project.

Olialia did not reveal the name of the islands, but did publish CGI images of the planned resort, designed by “famous Lithuanian architect” Valerijus Starkovskis, and claimed it that construction would begin “in a few years” with a grand opening in 2015.

Tenders for operators of the hotel, restaurants and serivce providers “would be announced soon”, the company said, also claiming that it would hold a “worldwide competition” to select the manager of the blonde island, “which every citizen in the world will be able to participate in.”

Aside from reclaiming an island in the shape of women’s footwear, the present draft includes an initial 61 guest villas, several restaurants, a nightclub, a beauty salon and spa centers, a marina, a boardwalk, mall, helipad and a “centre of harmony and psychology”. Olialia said it intends to eventually increase the resort to 500 rooms.

The central gimmick of the proposal is to staff the resort entirely with blondes and ensure all buildings “comply with the spirit and the worldview of blondes”, because, according to Olialia’s managing director Giedre Pukiene, “blondes are a great power that should not be underestimated. We are smart, beautiful, reckless and purposeful.”

Olialia's MD Giedre Pukiene

In addition to the resort, a specially designed charter airline staffed only by blondes, ‘Olialia airlines’, will deliver tourists to the island, Pukiene claimed.

Investors apparently include interests in Lithuania, Russia, UK, Germany, the United Arab Emirates and an as-yet undisclosed Maldivian travel company.

Olialia is a highly recognisable brand within Lithuania with a reported income of $US10 million. It claims to be an Eastern European version of Richard Branson’s Virgin company, and is well known for its gratuitous use of blonde women in its marketing. The company now markets an assortment of products ranging from Cola and Italian pizza restaurants to luxury limousines, a nightclub and a (blonde) modelling agency.

Olialia made headlines worldwide in September after it first proposed the Maldives resort concept, sparking heated debate over whether such a resort would be discriminatory or too controversial for the country’s conservative self-image – or even whether the whole idea was a devious marketing gimmick.

If legitimate, the resort faces several practical obstacles – the first being that so far, the Maldivian Tourism Ministry knows nothing about the project.

“I’m sure I would have heard about this,” said Minister of Tourism Mariyam Zulfa, adding that such project would eventually pass through the tourism ministry, be subject to the Tourism Act and ultimately require cabinet approval “and debate over the various merits and demerits.”

However, she said, the government “promoted private enterprise, and was not in the [business] of either killing or encouraging ideas. What a private party does is their prerogative and we do not interfere in how resorts are run.”

After lowering cabinet’s raised eyebrows, a second challenge for Olialia would be Maldivian employment regulations, which state that resorts must employ a minimum of 50 percent Maldivian staff – few of whom are naturally blonde.

Thirdly, several local marine biologists contacted by Minivan News who were shown images of Olialia’s resort pronounced it “ridiculous”.

“I couldn’t comment until I see the shape of the original island,” said one, “but there’s no visible beach protection and the island would suffer from huge erosion – the beach would just disappear – while sedimentation could kill the surrounding reef.”

“I don’t know if I should laugh about it or cry about the degradation of human species,” said another, after seeing the images.

Nonetheless should the Maldives hesitate in its embrace of the concept, “we have received offers of cooperation from the owners of islands in Greece and the Carribean,” Pukiene noted.

“Currently, the experts are studying the benefits of 12 islands. We do not exclude the possibility of opening several blondes resorts, because the interest in the project is huge.”


‘Celebrants’ are the victims here, not the Swiss: Guardian

“Thousands of couples across Europe and the US who have married or renewed vows in Asian ceremonies must now be wondering what was really said as rings were passed and kisses were exchanged,” writes William Sutcliffe in the UK’s Guardian newspaper.

“However pleasant the officiators may have seemed, however sincere the tone of the ceremony appeared, it is clear now that literally anything could have been passed off as a blessing or a chant. Of course, this should always have been clear, but such is the determination to believe in some vague ideal of Eastern mysticism that most people who buy into these ceremonies presumably dismiss any legitimate scepticism as somehow “Western” and inappropriate.

“All hotels are reliant on a theatre of deference and respect. In expensive hotels in poor countries, where cocktails are served by waiters whose daily wage is less than the price of one of the drinks they serve, the gulf between what the staff think of the guests and how they are obliged to behave is likely to be at its largest. Only rarely does the fourth wall in this drama ever come down. This video is a truly spectacular example.”

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Comment: Culture and misfortune

The Vilu Reef Beach & Spa Resort disaster reminds me of the book Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, I read in June. It has a story, about how Korea Air became one of the safest airline (almost overnight) from being the worst. The author explained, justifiably, without emphasis on the number of accidents or the technical issues behind, rather how our culture (Asian culture) was responsible for the misfortune events that occurred before the Korean government took responsible measures. The specifics of the case related to a concept defined by the Dutch Geert Hotstede. Our Vilu Reef case, I feel is very similar to Korea Air story.

The story unfolds into pointing the conversations between pilot and the co-pilot of a specific flight, recorded in a black box. When the conversation was critically analysed, the Korean government accepted how much a role their culture had taken in the death of thousands. This was serious, but Koreans learned and corrected.

According to Hotstede, there are five major variables of life in a society. Where I feel we are at, on these scales are irrelevant. These are questions each and everyone has to confront in life!

Maldivians, as I have perceived, have preferred explicit rules, of the quiet sort, accepting uncertainty as a fact of life. We accept without questioning and we limit our boundaries. We are of a culture where employees remain with the same employer for a long period of time.

We are not of the culture where rules are flexible or implicit, or where activities are more of the informal. That being the majority, I observe there is a minority amongst us who are at the other end of the spectrum. They are either have convictions in hypocrisy or hidden. A recent estimate by an International NGO said two percent.

The composition of the collectivist thought far outweighs the individualist. The Individualist thoughts progress more quickly in wealthy communities. What the observation though, is a collectivistic counter-fight at its extreme, to a wealth enjoyed unequally. I wonder if the Individualist has the same ideology towards sexual relationships – the multiplier index for the divorce rate. I would think so.

The Long & the Short Term orientation varies according to people’s expectations from future. Some agree with responsibility to the future, while some stay with history and present. Persistence/Perseverance, thrill, thrift and shame is acceptable to the futuristic mind.

Reciprocation of favours and gifts is non-compulsory. Some stand to claim history being futuristic, when it has always proven otherwise. Else time stops. However, stability is more prone to the short-term oriented. On the other hand, instability during early gear-shifts is summoned to futuristic changes and therefore more associated to short-term orientation. A futuristic citizen understands the costs of instability and bears it responsibly.

The masculinity & femininity index measures, without any consideration of its literal value, how strong a value we put on relationships and quality of life as opposed to competitiveness, assertiveness, ambition and the accumulation of wealth.

The feminist elaboration is deliberate. Relationships can strive, with longer and healthier features although softer, even with the Individualistic. Difference acceptance is a survival vitality. Femininity and Individualistic is not therefore mutually exclusive. This index seems to exhibit a dependency on other indexes as well.

Power distribution and its acceptance varies from the consultative, democratic, and equal treatment regardless of position, as to paternalism or autocracy. Positions command power in less democratic approaches, and subordinates acknowledge and accept power of hierarchical positions, compromising critique and contribution. Power distribution doesn’t explain the motives of the people, rather a practice.

One may ask if these indexes relate to the current event, I would love to counter-argue that it very much is so. Ignorance is not bliss for me.

Reflecting on the contents of the video, how did one become accustomed to abusive language such as words like “Nagoobalhu” or swine to mirror a human? These are not just aesthetics but deep rooted in ourselves. I can vouch for hearing such crude language on our streets on a daily basis. Even close friends refer to each other with these words. The embarrassed nimbly tries to ignore it while the receptor tries to outsmart being addressed as such with equivalent or more abusive language.

We need to ask where we are, how and why we arrived at this point. It’s time we tried to measure our scales.

The book was an insightful read, although some stories were very slow in ripening. The gist of my note is that we need to take responsibility to what has happened on Vilu Reef. We need to reflect deeply on the incident and understand the deep rooted issues within. We need to study them, acknowledge them, apologize to those who were hurt, rectify and start over where necessary.

How critical an analysis should our Ministry of Tourism, Arts & Culture consider when developing the regulatory framework, policies and laws to implement and monitor standards?

Should we not investigate the psychological implications that led to such behavior – is there a role for the Ministry of Health here? Can we study the trends in human development in the context of the Maldivian environment?

How should the education system be overhauled to lay the educational foundation for the development of the children towards growing up to be responsible young adults – is this a responsibility of the Ministry of Education?

When can we start listening to our children? Can parental education be introduced to ensure that the children and youth are supported with social, personal, and other skills required to be part of the growing up community, encouraging critical thinking and promoting freedom of expression?

Should we not study how employment regulations affect the rights of geographically-restricted staff with limited means to reach legal assistance? How do we integrate conditions for employees welfare to meet his social, educational, personal and spiritual needs in a purely working environment such as a resort – what about Ministry of Human Resources, Youth & Sports?

How can the religious education embrace a more holistic and human rights based approach that can instill values in Maldivians – define the role of the Ministry of Islamic Affairs? What about ethics and values of our society including the business community? Shouldn’t Ministry of Economic Development be concerned about why foreign investors think twice before venturing with a local partner?

It is time for serious national action, for we cannot let this be repeated. Or we will hurt ourselves, again and again. We shouldn’t allow this to be swept under the carpet, after a short lived juicy-story-hype, with political veils. The government shall not just condemn it but take responsibility for rectification. Reports have to be published. The government should be questioned over its steps of rectification.

Punishing is not just a solution. Pointing a finger is not a solution in singularity. Apology without corrective action is not a solution. The solution is within us, which we cannot neglect to admit anymore. We need to learn our issues – issues of principle. We need to fix it and fix it soon.

The repercussions are a serious cost to each and every Maldivian. I believe it is the worst of its kind Maldives has had to face in its history and scars will remain for a long time. Reconciliation with the world, with nations and with religions and cultures is pre-requisite to restore Maldives.

All comment pieces are the sole view of the author and do not reflect the editorial policy of Minivan News. If you would like to write an opinion piece, please send proposals to [email protected]


Body of UK tourist found on beach at Kuredhoo Island Resort

The body of a tourist from the UK has been found on the beach of Kuredhoo Island Resort in Lhaviyani Atoll.

Police reported that the body of the 42 year-old woman was  discovered at 12:30am on Friday night. She was a guest at the resort, police said, adding that the Serious and Organised Crime Department was now investigating the matter.

A staff member working on the island told Minivan News that the woman had no injuries on the outside of her body.

“Her body was found just after midnight, on the seashore,” he said. “Police have now arrived at the resort and are investigating the case.”

Another staff member working on the resort told Minivan News that the body had been transferred to Male’ Mortuary.

The Front Office Manager at the resort said he was not allowed to comment on the issue.

Kuredhoo is situated on the northern reef of the Lhaviyani Atoll, 80 miles north of the international airport at  Hulhule.


Nine staff at Alila Villa resign alleging threats of dismissal over strike action

Nine staff members working for the food and beverage (F&B) department of luxury five star resort Alila Villa have resigned following a strike in protest against the termination of the F&B supervisor.

“The staff resigned after the resort’s management warned them that they would be dismissed if they continued the strike,’’ a staff member working at the hotel told Minivan News. “They were demanding the management reinstate the job of the sacked supervisor, and remained in their rooms without coming out for work.’’

The staff member alleged the supervisor was dismissed for failing to sending his staff to a training class.

“The nine staffs working under him gave in their resignation letter and left the island when they realised that continuing the strike would only get them sacked,” he said.

The staff member claimed resort management had been looking for an opportunity to dismiss the F&B manager, after an incident during final days of Ramadan when the General Manager’s room was vandalised.

“Following the incident police officers arrived at the island and arrested three suspects,” the staff member said.

He claimed the suspects were kept in custody “without any evidence or witnesses”, but were released the next day.

“The three staff [arrested] were the three suspected by management [of committing the crime], but they were unaware of the incident,’’ the staff member claimed, alleging that management subsequently began blacklisting and dismissing “anyone who raised their voice against the management over poor staff facilities.”

“We keep telling the management that this is a five star luxury hotel, and they could do much better than this,’’ he said. “But everyone who tries to raise this subject gets terminated with the slightest provocation.’’

Human Resources Manager of Alila Villa Deepa Manual said Minivan’s information was incorrect.

“Similar events took place in the hotel, but at the moment we would not like to disclose any information regarding the issue,’’ she said.

Vice President of the Tourism Employment Association of the Maldives (TEAM) Ibrahim Mauroof, said the issue of staff mistreatment at resorts was “an issue of concern”.

”Because of the influence of resort owners, staff are often unaware of the rights they have that are stated in the constitution,” said Mauroof. ”Most of the time they do not even know how to demand their rights when they are abused.”

Mauroof added the new laws being drafted governing strike action would narrow the right to strike enshrined in the constitution.

”[The regulations] says that a strike can only be conducted with the consent of management, after it has been provided in a written document,” he said. ”Furthermore, if the strike obstructs the services and affects the customers, the strike can be declared unlawful and striking staff can be arrested.”

He said the issue was “a great concern”, but that it could still be resolved if the organisations involved “came to one table to discuss the issue.”


Disruptive strikes discredits tourism says MATATO, mistreating workers does same, says TEAM

The temporary closure of the Kurumba Maldives resort following three days of strike action by staff has had a roll-on impact on local tour operators and travel agents, according to a statement from the Maldives Association of Travel Agents and Tour Operators (MATATO).

Most staff at Kurumba had returned to work yesterday following an ultimatum by resort management and the arrest of 19 staff on charges of intimidation and vandalism. The strikers were complaining of management inaction over poor staff accommodation, food, unfair distribution of service charges and staff discrimination.

MATATO warned disruptive strike incidents “could potentially discredit tourism in the Maldives”, and that it was not inconceivable that the Maldives tourism industry “could fade away as happened in Bali [following the 2005 bombings].”

“Such disputes should be solved through discussions, in a way that does not affect the guests,” the MATATO statement said, adding that disruption compounded an already “low time for tourism”.

“There should be no ground for any party to reduce visitors and businesses in this country to a state of fear and terror, whoever may be at fault.

MATATO’s concern echoes that of the Maldives Association of Tourism Industry (MATI), which on Monday stated that “there should be no grounds for any party to reduce visitors and businesses in this country to a state of fear and terror, whoever may be at fault.”

MATATO also said it was “very concerned” that the President of the Tourism Employment Association (TEAM), Maldivian Democratic Party MP Ahmed Easa, “worked to heat up the situation instead of trying to cool it down.”

“As the president of TEAM is an MP and a political figure, it would help solve the issue if he chose either to be the president of TEAM, or an MP,” MATATO said.

Easa acknowledged concern about the politicisation of his position.

“I believe I should not be the President of TEAM,” he said. “But if I left, who would replace me? In this country there are very few people with the courage to fight for labour rights.”

“My phone is always ringing from resort employees, and we have 100 cases ongoing in courts ranging from the labour tribunal to the Supreme Court. I am spending $2000 a month on TEAM and working 20 hours a day, because many resort workers are not paid enough to save up for things like lawyers.”

Speaking to Minivan News, Easa said he was unhappy with the way the police and government handled the Kurumba strike, claiming that arresting the strikers was “against human rights, labour laws and the constitution of the Maldives.”

“Employees have the right to strike – all international laws allow it – and police have no right to arrest them,” Easa said.

19 striking staff were removed from the island after police received reports of management intimidation and vandalism.

“I’ve monitored more that 22 strikes in the resort industry and my experience is that in every strike, the hotel tries to get police to interfere by making [the strikers] angry so they break the law,” Easa claimed.

“I have seen all these tricks. The police actually advise management to do this and push [the strikers] to make mistakes.”

He rejected claims by the Maldives Association of Tourism Industry (MATI) and MATATO that strikes by resort staff would discredit tourism in the Maldives, arguing that poor treatment of workers was already damaging the industry’s image.

“Most tourists to this country come from the EU where labour rights are very much protected,” he said. “I have spent 15 years in the hotel industry, and I am very confident that tourists from the EU do not want to spend a single hour in a hotel that does not provide labour rights to its employees, pay their salaries properly or distribute service charges fairly, and accommodates them in a zoo with 10-15 people to a room.”

Tourists, he urged, should “take more of an interest in how resorts treat their staff.”

Universal Resorts’ board member on MATI, Visha Mahir, said she would not comment on the issues raised by the strike until the release of a formal statement by the group tomorrow.


Kurumba staff return to work after 19 arrested

Staff at Kurumba Resort have ceased striking and returned to work following the arrest of 19 staff members on charges of vandalism and intimidation.

Almost all the resort staff have been on strike for the last three days complaining of management inaction over poor staff accommodation, food, unfair distribution of service charges and staff discrimination. Rising tension prompted management to move around 250 guests to other resorts run by the Universal group yesterday, while other visitors chose to depart the country.

Assistant Human Resources Manager at Kurumba, Ibrahim Hassan, told Minivan News that the striking staff were last night given a written ultimatum to report to duty by 9:30pm, “otherwise they would need to continue the strike elsewhere as management would not allow it to continue on the [privately-owned] island.”

“Many staff obeyed and informed HR they were ready to return to work; others were not willing  to start work but ultimately they all gave up the strike,” Ibrahim said, adding that four staff members had chosen to resign and leave the island while 19 remained in police custody.

“Management is now reviewing all the issues raised [by the strikers] and believes many are valid,” he said.

Police Sub-Inspector Ahmed Shiyam confirmed yesterday that police arrived on the island to monitor the situation after receiving reports that management had been threatened. A door was also damaged in a staff room.

“The staff decided to cease the strike after police and management held negotiations,’’ said Shiyam today.

Mohamed Zakir, Vice President of the Tourism Employment Association of the Maldives (TEAM) alleged that staff decided to halt the strike “after police and management threatened staff that they would be terminated from their jobs and arrested.’’

The 19 staff arrested were leaders of the strike, Zakir claimed.

“There was also a riot squad on the island,’’ he claimed. “Management and police demanded staff end the strike and return to work. Most of them agreed, but four of them did not want to stop and are still on strike.’’

Shiyam claimed police “only assisted” negotiations to resolve the stand-off, after talks between staff and management reached a deadlock yesterday, “and did not threaten staff.”

Meanwhile, radio station SunFM today reported Chairman of Universal Mohamed Umar Maniku as saying that the three-day strike had caused the company a loss of more than two million dollars. He also told SunFM that bookings had been cancelled due to the strike.

Ibrahim would not comment on the financial impact caused by the strike.

Sim Mohamed Ibrahim from the Maldives Association of Tourism Industry (MATI) said yesterday that the organisation was concerned that “an investment of millions of dollars can be crippled and held at ransom within a few hours by its own employees, whose grievances may or may not be real,” adding that this had occurred in several resorts.

Tourism, namely the country’s 90-odd resort islands, indirectly contributes to 70 percent of the country’s GDP.

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly referenced the Chairperson of Universal as Ali Mohamed Maniku. This has been corrected to Mohamed Umar Maniku.


Kurumba management evacuates guests as strike talks deadlock

An ongoing strike at Kurumba Maldives resort near Male’ has prompted management to move the island’s guests to other resorts run by the Universal Group, while other visitors have chosen to leave the country.

More than 150 Maldivian and expatriate staff are on strike after complaining of poor staff facilities, low wages, unfair distribution of service charges and discrimination between local and foreign staff.

Assistant Human Resources Manager Ibrahim Hassan told Minivan News that no staff were currently working at the resort, as “almost all” were now involved in the strike action. Nearly 250 guests had been relocated to other resorts or had cut short their holidays and left the country, he said.

“At the moment [the strikers] are very calm. They are standing in front of the Human Resources [office] and not coming out of the staff area,” Ibrahim said.

“Yesterday it became serious when they came out of the staff area and threatened senior management. Some senior managers have [subsequently] left the island.”

A third meeting between staff and management yesterday failed to resolve the deadlock, he noted. No staff member had yet been dismissed, he added.

Police have meanwhile arrived on the island to monitor the situation. Police Sub-Inspector Ahmed Shiyam said a police team was sent after police received reports that management were being threatened.

A staff member on strike told Minivan News that the workers decided to continue the strike after management “did not give us an adequate answer” by the workers’ deadline of 4:00pm yesterday.

“Nobody is on duty and guests have complained about the poor services, so the management decided to transfer all the guests to other resorts,” he said.

Striking staff complain to senior managers

During the last meeting resort management had given the staff a written reply to their demands, promising the construction of a new staff accommodation block in September and the formation of a staff committee representing various departments.

“We have four main concerns: wages, service charge [payments], food and accommodation,” he said. “For food and accommodation they gave a pleasant answer. But regarding wages and the service charge, they could not give an adequate answer – they said they were revising the salaries but did not know when they could increase them.”

When staff said the response was inadequate, management replied they were unable to alter the decision, he said.

“That response caused outrage among staff and some of the senior management officials were forced to leave the island,’’ he added. “Police came to the island to control the situation.’’

The staff claimed they would strike until management fulfilled their demands, he said.

Sim Mohamed Ibrahim from the Maldives Association of Tourism Industry (MATI) described the industrial action at Kurumba as “a clear reflection of what little protection is provided to investors and businesses under the present laws pertaining to the conduct of business in the country.”

“The reality of the situation is that an investment of millions of dollars can be crippled andheld at ransom within a few hours by its own employees, whose grievances may or may not be real,” Sim said, adding that this situation had recently occurred in several resorts.

“The situation in Kurumba is a case in point. On Sunday August 22 the resort occupancy [percentage] was in the 80’s. Towards evening that day occupancy had fallen to less than 20% percent,” Sim said. “Tourists, tour operators and senior management have been too terrified to remain in the resort, and today the resort is empty.”

“There should be no ground for any party to reduce visitors and businesses in this country to a state of fear and terror, whoever may be at fault. The government must provide tourists and investors with adequate protection,” Sim said.

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.


Kurumba workers on strike over poor staff facilities

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