AFCONS employees on strike! concerns of no salary and no food

Meedhoo councilor meets with employees of AFCONS who are protesting over poor work conditions. | Photo: Social Media (Azlin)

Addu City, Maldives – AFCONS workers working on the Addu City road development have told that they are not being paid and not even given food on the days they do not go to work.

The company’s employees have been protesting in Addu City since last Saturday. Today, the employees gathered near the HulhuMeedhoo police station.

‘The Times of Addu’ has learned that the issue of salary, employees’ visas and other concerns have been the reason behind the employees strike. It has been confirmed that this is a direct issue between the company and its employees.

The road construction project in Addu City is one of the biggest priorities of the government. This work has not been carried out and the work is being delayed for various reasons from AFCONS Infrastructure, the contractor for the project.

Only a few roads have been completed and used so far. None of the roads in Hithadhoo have been completed while some roads in Feydhoo have been completed.

Sharing their concerns, the protesting employees said they would not be given food on the day they did not go to work. They are also not paid up to salaries and are not provided with the most appropriate environment. In addition, the employees say they are not fed properly at night.

No government official has given a direct response to the issue. Planning Minister Mohammed Aslam, who is currently working in Addu City, has asked to resolve the issue and get to work soon.

India’s AFCONS Infrastructure Limited has also come under public criticism over the low quality of their works in the Addu road development project. Parliamentarian for Addu City Feydhoo constituency, Mohamed Nihad had previously raised concerns over the quality of Addu City’s road development project.

The project was officially in March, 2022 during a special ceremony, where President Solih was accompanied by Foreign Minister of Maldives Abdullah Shahid and Minister of External Affairs of India Dr. S. Jaishankar.

By the end of the MVR 1.2 billion project contracted to India’s Afcons Infrastructure Limited, a total of 107 kilometres of road is expected to be developed to modern standards, including the installation of a 103 kilometer stormwater drainage system to solve the flooding issues currently prevalent in the city during rainy monsoons.

The project will be financed under the USD 800 million line of credit from the Exim Bank of India. According to the terms of the contract, Afcons needs to complete the project within 730 days.

The USD 147.1 million project to develop the roads of the city is set to be completed within 24 months. This project includes paving of about 40 km of unpaved road and providing street lights and CCTV coverage for all islands of Addu. 

In addition to this, the road work involves development of a new 4-lane bypass through the shallow back-reef on the ocean side connecting Hithadhoo Island with Maradhoo Island. The project also includes establishing a drainage system for all roads in Addu except for Feydhoo district, with approximately 103km in length.

The total length is about 1.5 km out of which about 0.9 km will be on embankment and will require shore protection and borrow material and the remaining length is bridged with two bridges of 210m and 450m length. In addition to this, the resurfacing of 3.315 km of existing roads is also included in the project’s scope.