“Their presence exacerbated conflict between bakery management and former employees”
The Ombudsperson (AP) took notice ex officio and conducted an inquiry in the case of the two bakers from Sri Lanka, legally employed in Ditrau, Harghita County, mentioning that the two Sri Lankan citizens’ presence exacerbated the conflict between the bakery management and former employees.
On 29 January, approximately 200 inhabitants of Ditrau commune gathered before the mayor’s office building, unhappy that a local bread bakery hired two Sri Lankan workers. The locals claim they fear this is the starting signal for “migrants to come to the community,” impose their culture on them and put their safety in jeopardy.
“In Ditrau locality there is an older local conflict of economic nature between AGM Eco Corporate SRL company, on the one hand, and several former employees, on the other hand. The presence of the two Sri Lankan citizens exacerbated this conflict and led to excessive and intolerant demonstrations on behalf of several citizens. The lack of information played a significant part, but also the ungrounded fears of the locals regarding the status of foreign citizens employed within the economic agent. Last, but not least, we note the inappropriate conduct of the chaplain priest in the community, who also contributed to the deepening of the conflict,” according to an AP release to Agerpres.
The AP said that this situation was also possible in the context of “some erroneous and unfounded pieces of information,” which came from mass media sources.
“The Ombudsperson mentions that most of the conflict unfolded through a known social network, which led to its propagation in the online environment. Thus, it has been noted that the vehemence of the inappropriate demonstrations gained amplitude in the virtual space. During the inquiry conducted by representatives of the Ombudsperson, within the talks carried out with persons of the local community, with the bakery’s owners, with the two Sri Lankan workers, it was established that the situation had calmed down, the community regretted that it had gotten into an unwanted situation, the two workers felt safe and kept coming to work,” the AP informs.
Representatives of the AP institution established that the mayor of the locality “managed the situation properly” and did all the diligence to avoid the escalation of the conflict. Moreover, in view of preventing such situations in the future, the mayor in the locality initiated a dialogue with university teaching staff of the Babes-Bolyai University, in view of drafting some information campaigns regarding the prevention and combating of the detected phenomena. The case continues to remain in the AP’s focus, together with the subject of the foreigners’ rights living on Romania’s territory, the AP mentions.
On this occasion, the Ombudsperson institution brings to mind that it is currently in progress of drafting a Special Report regarding the hatred instigation speech, which will tackle the matter of the lack of regulation in the online environment regarding manifestations instigating hate.