Romania: Lankan bakers shown the dough after uproar | Daily News


Romania: Lankan bakers shown the dough after uproar

Three Sri Lankan bakers who moved to a quiet town in Romania to work in a bread factory and unexpectedly found themselves at the centre of an anti-immigration storm have been relocated to two other villages, leaving them 15km (9 miles) away from where they work.

The workers had gone to Ditrau, a town of 5,000 people in a predominantly ethnic Hungarian area of the north, to earn higher wages.

Shortly after they arrived, about 350 residents protested outside the town hall. The row escalated when the local Roman Catholic priest delivered a petition of 1,800 signatures calling on the bakery owners not to employ foreign workers while local unemployment was “higher than 2%”.

The Sri Lankans are being diplomatic: “The villagers had a bit of a problem [with us],” says one. But bakery boss Katalin Kollo is clear: “It is quite obvious that this was about racism.”

Some residents worried their cultural traditions and community’s safety could be at risk and Mrs Kollo says a closed Facebook group named “We want an immigrant-free Ditrau” attracted 2,700 members.

The story has attracted the attention of the Romanian authorities. A complaint was filed by the Romanian National Council for Combating Discrimination over incitement to hatred and discrimination.The Sri Lankans signed two-year work contracts with the bakery, which employs 94 people and pays for their accommodation.The bakery manager says she looked abroad for staff, partly to bridge a skills gap and partly to meet employee quota conditions for two EU development grants.

“We lost a lot of people to the West, and now we’re looking to the East for workers,” she told the BBC. (BBC)

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