The Tourism Employees Association of Maldives (TEAM) has thrown its support behind President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih as he gears up for the presidential election scheduled for September 9. In a resounding statement, TEAM commended the government’s exceptional efforts in safeguarding the rights of resort workers over the past five years, affirming its endorsement of President Solih’s candidacy.
TEAM’s declaration highlighted a series of accomplishments achieved by the government during its tenure in promoting the welfare of the tourism industry’s workforce and underscored the new commitments set forth for this crucial sector.
Accomplishments Over the Past Five Years:
Strengthening International Relations: The government bolstered ties with the International Labor Organization (ILO) and other international organizations, fortifying support for Maldives’ tourism employees on a global scale.
Minimum Wage and Salary Enhancement: Collaborating with workers through participation and consultation, the government established a minimum wage and increased salaries for resort employees, ensuring better compensation.
Mandatory Service Charge and Monitoring: Laws were amended to enforce a 10 percent service charge and enhance monitoring mechanisms, fortifying financial stability for the workforce.
Protection Against Arbitrary Dismissal: Legal amendments and rule formulation were introduced to prevent arbitrary dismissals, offering job security to resort employees.
Annual Holiday Adjustment: Responding to the requests of resort employees, the government modified the annual holiday schedule.
Freedom of Movement: The law was altered to grant workers the freedom to leave resorts during their leisure time without requiring permission.
Occupational Safety and Health Legislation: The Occupational Safety and Health Bill was presented to Parliament, prioritizing the safety and well-being of tourism employees.
Industrial Relations Reform: Substantial changes to the Industrial Relations Bill were submitted in collaboration with TEAM, aiming to further protect workers’ rights.
Pledges for a Second Term:
Special Housing: President Solih has committed to providing special housing for tourism workers, addressing accommodation concerns.
Improved Transportation: A plan to connect resorts with modern high-speed RTL ferries is in place, facilitating easier family reunions for workers.
Maldivian Workforce: A pledge to fill at least 50 percent of senior positions in resorts with Maldivians aims to empower the local workforce.
Educational Initiatives: Special educational programs tailored for resort employees will be implemented to enhance their skills and career opportunities.
Hospitality School: The establishment of an internationally recognized hospitality school campus seeks to elevate the standards of the industry.
Leadership Scholarships: A provision for 500 leadership scholarship opportunities for tourism workers will promote professional growth.
TEAM’s statement eloquently expressed its decision to endorse President Solih for the upcoming presidential election, emphasizing his commitment to implementing crucial policies for the betterment of tourism workers during his potential second term.
In 2021, the government initiated a change in the academic year, shifting it to August to coincide with the tourism industry’s low season, allowing resort workers to spend quality time with their families during holidays. This modification was the result of extensive consultations with stakeholders. However, opposition candidate Dr. Mohamed Muizzu has pledged to revert to the traditional January start for the academic year beginning in 2025, citing the current mid-year break’s burdensome nature for students and parents.
TEAM strongly objected to Muizzu’s proposal to reverse this change, emphasizing that the alteration to the school annual holidays has brought about significant social and economic benefits and was implemented in response to the majority of tourism workers’ demands.