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ITF demands an end to anti-union campaign in Maldives port
9 November 2012
The ITF has called on the Maldives government to intervene in a case of union intimidation or face public embarrassment wrought by widespread international solidarity action.
In a letter dated 22 October, ITF general secretary David Cockroft wrote to President Dr Mohamed Waheed for the second time urging him to use his office to instruct the chairman and management of Maldives Port Limited (MPL) to halt their anti-union campaign against members of the Maldives Port Workers’ Union (MPWU). He also wanted to see the president persuade the company to enter into “a real dialogue and conciliation process with MPWU” which should lead to a negotiated settlement addressing the legitimate grievances of the union’s members.
Members of the union have been fighting off victimisation by the MPL in a campaign to prevent them from participating in union activities; union leaders have also been dismissed. These actions run counter to the government’s own employment legislation and constitution as well as International Labour Organization (ILO) conventions.
Cockroft told Waheed that the situation facing the MPWU was “dire”. He explained that “they are facing a direct attack on their internationally protected rights to organise in a trade union and freedom of association (ILO 98 and 87). In fact, members are being victimised for exercising those very rights.”
He added: “If I receive no further correspondence from yourself, I will be forced to examine how we, as an organisation, can support our brothers and sisters in the Maldives through international solidarity.”
Union representatives along with a delegation from the national union centre met with President Waheed on 5 November. However, the meeting failed to provide the union with adequate assurances; as a result the MPWU, with support from the ITF, has vowed to step up its campaign.
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