Labour unrest hits Sri Lankan-managed Maldivian resort

Dec 2, 2008 (LBO) – Over 100 people attached to Sri Lankan Aitken Spence Group’s Meedhuparu Island resort in the Maldives, have struck work demanding better working conditions, joining colleagues in three other resorts, reports said. The strike, which began over the weekend, is initiated by Maldivian employees who want the management to implement the newly minted Employment Act in full.

The new law, which includes clauses limiting a working week to 48 hours, maximum eight hour shifts each day, holiday and overtime payments, has been in place since mid-October.

The legislation also for the first time, brings foreign workers on par with local employees.

But, local and foreign owners of the 92 luxury island resorts, are reluctant to comply with the law as it requires them to double the number of employees and spend an extra 200,000 dollars annually on staff welfare.

The issue is gradually snowballing into a nationwide industrial action, with local staff attached to three other luxury resorts on strike since last Thursday. No foreign staff are currently involved in the strike.

Meedhuparu resort’s Mohamed Mahdy says the management was not given prior notice of the industrial action and has threatened to dismiss e