A 24-year-old baker from Sri Lanka has arrived in Romania where he will take up a job in a bakery in a small town in central Romania where the local community is embroiled in row about racism.
Bakery owner Katalin Kollo told Mediafax news agency that the man would join his compatriots who are employed at the bakery.
The two men, aged 22 and 48, live at a secret address in the town of Gheorgheni and are afforded security. A driver from the bakery drives them to and from work in Ditrau, 15 kilometers away, according to media reports.
:Labor Minister Violeta Alexandru told universul,net the arrival of a third Sri Lankan baker was “very good.”
On February 2, she deployed labor inspectors to clarify the situation. Alexandru told Romanian media that she was surprised by the attitude of locals, „who forget that our fellow Romanians also work in large numbers abroad and deserve respect.”
The dispute in the town of 5,500 where most residents are ethnic Hungarians, made headline news after 350 residents protested after the bakery hired two Sri Lankans through a local recruitment company.
Millions of Romanian gave moved abroad for better paying jobs in recent years, and Romanian companies have needed to hire foreign workers, as in the case of the Ditrau bakery.
Local residents said they feared the Sri Lankans would bring their families with them and disrupt local life, by putting the community and cultural traditions at risk. Some said they didn’t want bread made “with dark hands.”
Sales have fallen by 50% the bakery says. The bakery initially said it would make sure the men did not come into direct contact with the dough or bread, in an effort to appease local residents, but then said they would continue to bake bread.
Kollo said the third Sri Lankan arrived in Romania on Monday evening. “He’s a nice young man and he’s thrilled to be working in Romania,”she said.“We are drawing up his employment documents and medical tests and we hope he can start working on production on Thursday.”
She said he would work for two weeks with the other two Sri Lankan bakers and would then be transferred to the pastry department. “He has a girlfriend in Sri Lanka and wants to save money to buy a house in Sri Lanka,” she said in an apparent bid to quell concerns that the men planned to settle in Romania.
Romania’s ombudsman investigated the case and ruled that the dispute erupted from a previous conflict between the bakery and former employees over working conditions and pay.
Romania’s has a labor shortage of around 300,000 workers, according to industry groups. In recent years, it has begun recruit employees from Vietnam, Nepal and Sri Lanka.