J’can em­ployee ac­cuses Ja­panese em­bassy of un­fair treat­ment

Jamaica Gleaner - - NEWS - Paul Clarke/Gleaner Writer paul.clarke@glean­erjm.com

AJAMAICAN who was for­merly em­ployed to the Em­bassy of Ja­pan in Kingston is seek­ing re­dress for the “un­fair treat­ment” meted out to them by the em­bassy.

The ac­cu­sa­tion came af­ter the lo­cal em­ployee was said to be “un­fairly ter­mi­nated” in Fe­bru­ary 2019.

How­ever, a state­ment from le­gal firm Nunes, Sc­hole­field, DeLeon and Com­pany, rep­re­sent­ing the Em­bassy of Ja­pan, said their client has had a long­stand­ing his­tory of good re­la­tions with Ja­maica, hav­ing es­tab­lished diplo­matic re­la­tions in 1964.

“Dur­ing that time the em­bassy has had Ja­maican em­ploy­ees who have al­ways been treated with dig­nity and fair­ness,” the law firm said, un­der the sig­na­ture of at­tor­ney-at-law Tavia Dunn.

Se­nior trade union­ist and in­dus­trial re­la­tions con­sul­tant, Vin­cent Mor­ri­son, rep­re­sent­ing the for­mer em­ployee, mean­while, has ex­pressed “grave con­cern over the man­ner in which the Ja­panese em­bassy in Kingston has been treat­ing lo­cal Ja­maican staff, and at the same time openly breach­ing the Labour Re­la­tions and In­dus­trial Dis­pute Act and The Labour Code, with lo­cal em­ploy­ees hav­ing lit­tle or no op­por­tu­nity to air griev­ances and re­solve dis­putes or mat­ters of dis­sat­is­fac­tion with of­fi­cials of the lo­cal em­bassy”.

Mor­ri­son said he wrote the em­bassy in March 2019 on be­half of the ter­mi­nated em­ployee, and that a meet­ing was held in Septem­ber 2019, adding that a promised re­sponse came only in Fe­bru­ary 2020.

FOL­LOW-UP MEET­ING

He de­scribed it as to­tally un­ac­cept­able. “Since that time, we have been await­ing a fol­low-up meet­ing or re­sponse from the em­bassy, and de­spite sev­eral let­ters, emails and tele­phone calls, the Em­bassy of Ja­pan has failed to re­spond,” Mor­ri­son said.

He stated fur­ther that in an ef­fort to have the mat­ter am­i­ca­bly re­solved, a demon­stra­tion is be­ing planned within the next few weeks in or­der to bring the pub­lic’s at­ten­tion to the ex­cesses against the lo­cal staff at the em­bassy.

The em­bassy, mean­while, said it is aware of “an em­ployee” who was en­gaged on a fixed-term con­tract which came to an end at the mu­tu­ally agreed date, and said that Mor­ri­son, who rep­re­sents the ex-em­ployee, com­mu­ni­cated with the em­bassy on be­half of the said em­ployee.

Nunes, Sc­hole­field, DeLeon and Com­pany said the em­bassy, “in the spirit of good faith,” held dis­cus­sions with Mor­ri­son and the em­ployee with a view to reach­ing an am­i­ca­ble res­o­lu­tion.

“How­ever, to date such dis­cus­sions have been fu­tile,” the firm said, adding that the em­bassy re­mains com­mit­ted to con­tin­u­ing such dis­course.

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