Local law firm volunteers to take up expat case at Labour Tribunal

Public Interest Law Centre (PILC) has decided to file a case with Labour Tribunal over the matter of expatriates working in B. Bodufinolhu not being paid their wages for more than seven months. PILC works on such cases voluntarily, free of charge.

PILC is led by Mariyam Shunana who worked in the Attorney General’s Office earlier. Shunana and her team travelled to Bodufinolhu on Saturday, and met with the expatriates and listened to their concerns with the assistance of Police and Bangladesh High Commission.

Shunana said PILC collected the relevant information to file the case with Labour Tribunal from the migrant workers and further information is to be collected.

Maldivians working in Bodufinolhu have also complained they have not been paid as well. Therefore, PILC has requested to contact the office if the locals need any legal assistant over the issue.

Bodufinolhu is being developed as a resort by Seal Maldives, and the contractor of the resort development is Riz Company. Riz Company is owned by MP Ali Riza representing Milandhoo constituency. On Thursday, police arrested 19 individuals after expatriates working in Bodufinolhu held locals working on the property hostage, and vandalized the properties, and confronted the police. The magistrate of B. Thulhaadhoo has issued a 15-day remand for their arrest. A terrorism case has been filed against them. During the hearing held to issue remand, one of the expatriates said he has not received salaries for the past seven months, and that there is no way for him to send money to his family. As a result, he has become mentally affected and depressed, said the man.

A statement was issued by Riz Company regarding the issue. As per the statement, paying salary for the employees is the responsibility of Seal Company. A monthly salary of MVR 7000 and food allowance is to be paid per employee. However, Seal has not been paying the salaries.
In response to the statement, Seal Company’s legal team issued a counter statement. As per the statement Seal Company has paid more than what is legally obliged to pay. The company had paid MVR 21 million to Riz Company even though the due payment amount is MVR 12 million, said Seal Company.

Seal added that it is the responsibility of Riz Company to pay the salaries, arranging medical insurance, and visa for the employees.