‘Racism’ in service industry prompts offer of cultural diversity training

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CULTURAL diversity training is being offered to Jersey’s hospitality businesses following two incidents of workplace racism against migrant employees last year.

Speaking at a meeting of the Work Permit Holder Welfare Review Panel, Jersey Hospitality Association co-chief executive Marcus Calvani said that two people – who are among a cohort of Antiguan and Barbudan workers – had experienced ‘racism or cultural clashes’.

The review panel was established to investigate the effectiveness of the Island’s work permit policy and whether it provides adequate protection to employees.

Last year, 50 people from the two Caribbean islands arrived in Jersey to work in hotels and restaurants for six months.

‘I think in general the first year of the Antigua and Barbuda programme went very well,’ Mr Calvani told the panel.

‘There was only a couple of situations of probably what would be defined as racism or cultural clashes that happened.

‘We don’t accept that any number is acceptable, so therefore we have introduced cultural diversity training to try and help that.’

Mr Calvani also added that a document could be created to help foreign workers better understand life in the Island.

‘There could very easily be one document which explains the Island’s police and taxes, as examples. It’s not rocket science; it just needs the right government departments to get together,’ he said.

Mr Calvani explained that as a result of Brexit, the Island’s hospitality industry had had to ‘change substantially’, with local employers recruiting from much further afield. This, he admitted, came with ‘greater cultural challenges’.

He added that the hospitality sector had seen an increase in workers from Nepal, Kenya, Indonesia and the Philippines and said it was important that both the employee and employer knew the true reality of the employment contracts being used.

‘We don’t want an employee to come to Jersey and experience something that wasn’t sold to them,’ he said.

‘We as an island should champion those who come to Jersey for work; they should know what they are expecting.’

Mr Calvani added that Jersey ‘should be embracing cultures from all over the world’.

Speaking after the hearing, he and his wife, Ana, who is also co-chief executive of the JHA, confirmed that the first cultural diversity training session had been scheduled to take place on 25 May and would be led by JHA partner Channel Islands Training and Development.

In a statement, the couple said: ‘Jersey has a long history of many cultures choosing to come and work in a number of our industries and it is what enriches our Island life and the incredible hospitality offering that we have on such a small island.

‘Sadly, certain types of behaviour continue to happen around the world and while we hear of very few issues in Jersey, it is part of our mission to make Jersey a great place to come and work.’

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