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Navanavaai launches hotline for workers amid pandemic

Mariyam Malsa
07 April 2020, MVT 20:17
A file photo showing civil servants entering Velaanaage office complex. PHOTO: NISHAN ALI/ MIHAARU
Mariyam Malsa
07 April 2020, MVT 20:17

Left-wing political movement 'Navaanavai', on Saturday, established a hotline for workers facing redundancy, pay cuts and unfair treatment amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Navaanavai, an NGO advocating for social justice, 9477309 will be available as a hotline for workers who wish to register complaints.

Speaking on behalf of Navaanavai, Ahmed Mohamed (Forme) said the complaints will form the basis of the organization's advocacy and lobbying efforts to protect workers' rights in the wake of the COVID-19 economic slowdown.

"We are seeing unprecedented mass dismissals, forced unpaid leaves, pay cuts and job uncertainty. These cruel measures are illegal and cannot be accepted", said Forme.

"Navaanavai will not allow the voices of workers go unheard"

In a statement issued on March 28, Navaanavai heavily criticized government's decision to allocate large sums to mega industries and big businesses, highlighting the need to safeguard employees' jobs and pay amid COVID-19 economic slowdown.

Further, the statement said a disproportionately heavy burden was placed on resort workers, expatriate workers, employees with temporary contracts, freelancers and Malé city tenants who pay exorbitant amounts for rent.

Navaanavai called on the government to reallocate stimulus package finance to provide relief for workers.

Meanwhile, Ministry of Economic Development has established a reporting module via an online platform at www.jobcenter.mv through which individuals can report employment issues.

Meanwhile, Tourism Employees Association of Maldives (TEAM) estimates show that 11,000 resort workers were forced to go on no-pay leave due to the shutdown of resorts across the country over the COVID-19 outbreak.

According to legal experts who spoke to The Edition, employers do not have the legal right to make unilateral adjustments to an employment contract, and reduce wages and allowances, nor impose annual leave.

Further, they note that mutual agreement between the employer and employee is required before a worker is placed on unpaid leave.

Additionally, the experts urged employees, both local and expatriate, to reach out to relevant authorities, including the Employment Tribunal, in case of unfair treatment and dismissals.

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