Thu | Aug 6, 2020

J’can employee accuses Japanese embassy of unfair treatment

Published:Tuesday | June 9, 2020 | 12:15 AMPaul Clarke/Gleaner Writer

A Jamaican 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 long-standing 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.

paul.clarke@gleanerjm.com