The growth of the cities in the Maldives has recently been little more than a pipe dream. Many people are now able to access better homes at more affordable prices thanks to the completion of many housing projects and the start of a few more. Nothing could be further from the truth when it comes to the gorgeous spaces being constructed in the Maldives, despite the fact that economical housing designs may sound like they could come at the expense of spacious and elegant accommodations.
While Maldivians are finally finding a solution to the country's worsening housing crisis, there is a bigger problem lurking beneath these luxurious apartments being built for our living quarters.
Currently, images and videos of the poor housing conditions of the foreign laborers who are working day and night to construct these skyscrapers are starting to make the rounds on Twitter and Instagram. These videos show the employees complaining about the terrible food they are given, with one employee revealing a daal curry that was so watery it appeared to have almost no flavor or nutritional value.
It is nothing new for construction companies to house foreign workers in subpar living conditions. Only last year, 10 foreign workers died in a highly dangerous fire, bringing to light the appalling conditions in which they are housed. Even when employed by multimillion dollar corporations, employees are frequently required to live in cramped quarters with their coworkers, receive pay that is below the minimum wage, and it appears that these businesses are even cutting corners on the employees' meals.
The recordings were shot in a housing complex for workers who had been employed to build the housing project, which had been given to an Indian company. More than 2,000 foreign employees who live in this housing complex have begun speaking out against the unfair treatment they are receiving as they build these lovely, roomy homes for Maldivians.
After seeing the abhorrent conditions of this facility, some even compare the level of inhumanity to slavery. As the Company denied these allegations, claiming that everything the workers were claiming—aside from the state of their food—was a lie—a local news outlet took it upon themselves to spend an hour in the workers' facility to investigate the veracity of the charges.
The media, however, noted that there was more than simply tasteless, watery food during this visitation. Beyond this, the workers were forced to eat on a slab of concrete due to a lack of dining space and the use of rotting or nearly rotten vegetables in the meals preparation. In addition to this, the local media also reported that the living conditions of this facility were extremely poor and unhygienic, and the workers are not getting any medical help. While there used to be a doctor assigned to overlook any sickness among the 2,000 workers, this option is no longer available.
The workers have also complained that they are working incredibly long hours in addition to their typical complaints about the food and living conditions. The employees are required to labor an additional 11 hours a day despite only receiving pay for eight hours of work each day.
While the construction company has categorically denied these complaints and promised to investigate the problems with the spoiled food being served at the workers' facility, it is incredibly difficult to believe that these workers are lying after seeing the images and videos that demonstrate the appalling conditions they are forced to live in.
It seems that for these large corporations, their employees are just money-making machines and there is no employer responsibility of investments being made toward their employees, even after so many incidents occurred due to foreign workers being treated so poorly, not just in the Maldives but around the world.
Is it not the company's responsibility to address these issues before they get to this point, even though they may outsource the parties that prepare the food that is served to their employees? How does a business allow its workers to be compelled to eat spoiled food because of its neglect?
These workers are not even receiving the most basic human rights at work while they are laboring day and night to create housing for us Maldivians. Although though the Maldives has experienced this problem before, each time a case like this comes to light, it shocks people just as much as the last.
The rights of workers and the subpar living conditions they endure are blatantly ignored by authoritative figures, both in the Maldives and India, where the workers are from, it appears, just like every other time. This is despite the fact that people in the Maldives have started raising their voices about the issue once more on various social media platforms.