Expatriate workers in Bodufinolhu island, which is being developed as a resort, have stressed that they have not had access to electricity and water supply since Thursday.
In a Twitter post, the Associate Asia director for Human Rights Watch Patricia Gossman stressed that the situation for migrant workers in the Maldives is desperate.
As such, she noted that the same workers in Bodufinolhu island who had gone unpaid are now saying that they have no electricity or water.
She went on to question why the authorities are “oblivious”.
In her Tweet, Gossman tagged President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, Defense Minister Mariya Ahmed Didi, the Defense Ministry and owner of RIX Maldives, MP for Milandhoo constituency, Ali Riza.
Due to the long-drawn-out issue of unpaid wages, expatriate workers in the development project had been protesting peacefully for months before things escalated and they took a group of 13 Maldivians workers on the island hostage, having damaged property after securing the island.
The issue of unpaid wages did not arise overnight and workers on the island had been protesting peacefully since may, calling to settle their due salaries.
19 workers were arrested following the unrest and their remand has been extended since.
Asides the Bodufinolhu unrest, more protests have been arising in the country’s capital, Malé City, due to similar issues. 41 workers were arrested during one such protest and remanded by 15 days.
On July 24, the Labor Relations Authority ordered RIX Maldives to pay pending salaries for expatriate workers stationed at Bodufinolhu.
In a letter addressed to owner of RIX Maldives the Labor Relations Authority noted that the expatriate workers besides those working for RIX and Bodufinolhu Hotel and Resort Private Limited are undocumented workers living illegally in the Maldives. LRA cited all of the expatriate workers in the Bodufinolhu island having stated that they are employed by RIX Maldives and that transactions and documents between Seal Maldives and RIX Maldives indicate that RIX company had been paying the workers on the island.
Under the agreement made with Seal Maldives and RIX, the latter is responsible for paying the workers their due salaries as well as food and accommodation, alongside ensuring the settlement of fees to the government in relation to the workers.
In light of this, RIX Maldives has been ordered to pay the 179 expatriate workers on the island before July 30 and provide LRA with a document confirming the settlement.
The company has been warned of legal action if it fails to comply, under the Employment Act of the Maldives.
Police earlier launched investigations into the human trafficking allegations against RIX Company, having accused RIX of exploiting workers and failing to provide employment fees to the government.
The authority had condemned violent behaviors that put life and property of the public and security services at risk, having urged all not to resort to violence in the name of industrial conflicts. They have been urged to seek legal measures in resolving issues of unpaid wages and other contractual disagreements between employees and employers.