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The ITUC does not have affiliates in the Maldives.

In practice

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TEAM union leads fight to stop new attacks on employment and workplace rights26-06-2020

The IUF-affiliated TEAM (Tourism Employees Association of Maldives) has been actively mobilising to defeat proposed changes to employment law that would weaken the country’s few existing worker protections at a time of crisis and set back the fight for basic rights in the country. Maldives has no legal industrial relations industrial relations The individual and collective relations and dealings between workers and employers at the workplace, as well as the institutional interaction between unions, employers and also the government.

See social dialogue
framework based on trade union and collective bargaining collective bargaining The process of negotiating mutually acceptable terms and conditions of employment as well as regulating industrial relations between one or more workers’ representatives, trade unions, or trade union centres on the one hand and an employer, a group of employers or one or more employers’ organisations on the other.

See collective bargaining agreement
rights – only an Employment Act that is not fit for purpose.
Changes to the Employment Act drafted by the Ministry of Economic Development in February would facilitate mass retrenchment and the targeted dismissal of union members and enhance employer discretion in distributing the service charges on which workers depend, among other measures. The changes were unilaterally introduced, excluding TEAM and other unions, and the government has not responded to union concerns.

Resort capitalises on pandemic to victimise union officer 13-04-2020

Unions accuse the Maldives government of issuing contradictory regulations in an effort to keep resorts open during the COVID-19 pandemic. Management of the JA Manafaru resort has capitalised on the situation to victimise union officer Ibrahim Ziyaadh, a branch leader of the tourism workers’ union TEAM, which is fighting to defend the rights, health and safety of tourism workers.
On 13 March 2020, the IUF-affiliated TEAM (Tourism Employees Association of Maldives) called on the government to adopt sensible measures protecting worker health and safety during COVID-19. However, between 14 and 25 March, a series of confusing and contradictory policies were put in place, without union consultation, regarding workers’ rights to enter or leave resorts.
On 20 March, TEAM union branch leader Ibrahim Ziyaadh, unaware of the new sanitary measures that had been adopted, returned from leave on his home island to the JA Manafaru resort, where he was employed. Security officers allowed him to enter the resort, and doctors placed him in quarantine. On 21 March, management called the police, and Ziyaadh was arrested. On 23 March, his employment contract was terminated while he was in police custody.
He has not been charged with violating the health regulations, which normally carries a fine, but with violations of the criminal code; he faces up to six months in prison.

Rights violations take the gloss off Maldives luxury Reethi Rah Resort09-02-2015

For six years, workers and their union at Kerzner International Holdings’ luxury One&Only Reethi Rah Resort in the Maldives have been fighting union-busting and the resort management’s ongoing refusal to implement court decisions in favour of the union.

Faced with abusive working conditions, low wages, management corruption, arbitrary transfers and management’s failure to implement the new Employment Act, workers at the resort joined the Tourism Employees Association of the Maldives (TEAM) in 2008 and attempted to raise these issues with management. Management refused to engage in any discussions and began harassing and intimidating union members. Deeply frustrated, union members stopped work in protest on 28 November 2008. On the third day of the protest, management still refused to address workers’ concerns and called the police to the resort island. The police attacked the peaceful workers protest with force, batons and pepper spray and then arrested 13 union leaders and members at random and removed them from the island.

Management then terminated these 13 members, including the union president, and tried to disband the union. In June 2009, the Employment Tribunal of the Maldives declared the terminations unjustified and illegal and ordered the workers reinstated with full back pay back pay Wages or benefits due an employee for past employment. Often awarded when the employee has been unfairly dismissed. Not to be confused with retroactive pay (delayed payment for work previously done at a lower wage rate). . Management refused and appealed the decision. The company lost its appeal and the reinstatement order was re-issued in September 2011. The resort management ignored this again. In September 2012, the court informed the company that failure to comply could result in seizure of assets.

In 2013 wage arrears were finally paid under instructions of the court, but the management again refused reinstatement. In January 2014, hundreds of workers again walked off the job in support of demands over wages, discrimination, accommodation and other abuses – the same abuses which led to the union’s formation in 2008. Management again refused to address the workers’ demands and again called in police to halt the protest.

In April 2014, 302 Reethi Rah workers signed a petition to management demanding reinstatement of the dismissed union members.

Anti-union discrimination against Maldives Port Workers Union31-07-2013

Maldives Ports Limited dismissed 6 members and 3 union leaders, including President Ibrahim Khaleel, and suspended 49 members of the Maldives Port Workers Union (MPWU) in 2012. Other union members were reassigned to other ports on different islands. Intimidation tactics such as harassment and threats are used to prevent workers from joining unions or engaging in union activities.

Unjust dismissal of trade union leader31-03-2013

The General Secretary of the Tourism Employees Association of Maldives was dismissed by the company One and Only Reethi Rah on 13 April 2009 on the basis of alleged criminal charges. Mauroof Zakir led a strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
in 2008 at the resort demanding the implementation of fundamental labour rights. The civil court ruled that the dismissal was unjustified and ordered the company to reinstate him and to pay the wage arrears. In March 2013, the One and Only Reethi Rah was fined by the court for not complying with the court order.

Interference in strike action28-02-2013
Employment tribunal decisions not applied31-12-2011

The employment tribunal responsible for enforcing respect of employment law does not have the power to ensure its decisions are applied. The Tourism Employees Association of the Maldives (TEAM) reports that no decision taken in the workers’ favour has been applied since 2009.

Labour Relations Authority ineffective 31-12-2011

The Labour Relations Authority, an institution under government control, is responsible for carrying out workplace inspections and receiving workers’ complaints. It is unable to function efficiently due to a shortage of staff and financial resources, while lacking the power to apply its decisions. According to workers’ associations it tends to side mainly with the employers.

Few migrant workers dare join workers’ associations31-12-2011

The law and its implementation do not provide enough protection against anti-union discrimination anti-union discrimination Any practice that disadvantages a worker or a group of workers on grounds of their past, current or prospective trade union membership, their legitimate trade union activities, or their use of trade union services. Can constitute dismissal, transfer, demotion, harassment and the like.

See Guide to the ITUC international trade union rights framework

, making many workers hesitant to join existing associations. This particularly affects migrant workers who make up about a quarter of the population, and many of whom suffer exploitation. Several networks trafficking migrant workers to the Maldives have been identified by the authorities, Bangladesh being a prominent source.

Trade unions confined to uncertain role31-12-2011

Although the legislation partially recognises fundamental trade union rights, there are no mechanisms in place to facilitate the exercise of those rights. There are no clear procedures for example on how to register trade unions, which therefore register themselves as “associations”. Workers associations have been set up, notably, in the tourist industry and education, but their ability to defend their members is limited by the uncertainties surrounding their mandate and their status, as well as the absence of laws defining their role and the procedures for negotiating with employers.

Failure to recognise the TEAM trade union and suspicions of a black list31-12-2010

Employers systematically refuse to recognise the union TEAM (Tourism Employees Association of the Maldives) or to negotiate with its members. The employers are strongly suspected of compiling a black list black list A list of workers compiled by and circulated among employers identifying union members and activists who are to be boycotted or otherwise penalised. of active members of trade unions in order to prevent them from finding a job.

Black lists and false charges 30-11-2009

According to the Tourism Employees Association of the Maldives (TEAM), workers in the big luxury hotels who try to ensure the respect of their rights are the target of unfair dismissals and are black-listed. They say that employers even have the support of some police departments in bringing false charges against the workers, such as the consumption of illegal drugs. TEAM reports that when workers have to provide urine samples further to an investigation into drug consumption, in some cases positive results are announced orally, without any formal proof. A positive test means dismissal and the end of the worker’s career. Furthermore say TEAM, the all-powerful luxury hotel industry and the government control the media, who paint a negative picture of trade unionism.

Creation of a labour tribunal31-03-2009

A labour tribunal was established in mid-April with the mandate of enforcing the labour rights enshrined in the Employment Act. Four days after its creation, 100 complaints had already been submitted, most of them concerning dismissals without warning and employment without contracts. TAM (Teachers’ Association of the Maldives) has complained that the tribunal’s decisions are not applied when they are in the workers’ favour.

No collective bargaining30-11-2008

According to a report by the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives, the actions of the Teachers Association of the Maldives (TAM), the Tourism Employees Association of the Maldives (TEAM) and a fishermen’s association, among the most active in defending employees’ rights in their respective sectors, are hampered by the uncertainties surrounding their status, mandate and in general the lack of laws defining their role, function and the procedures by which they may negotiate with employers. In the absence of a real trade union, the concept of collective bargaining collective bargaining The process of negotiating mutually acceptable terms and conditions of employment as well as regulating industrial relations between one or more workers’ representatives, trade unions, or trade union centres on the one hand and an employer, a group of employers or one or more employers’ organisations on the other.

See collective bargaining agreement
remains unknown in the Maldives.

Workers’ associations, a few strikes, but still no unions 30-11-2008

Some workers’ organisations have been established, particularly in the tourism and education sectors, though these are associations rather than real unions. Some strikes have taken place in the tourism industry.

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