Expat Managers Discriminate Against Locals At Vanuatu Resort

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Labour Department report confirms allegations

By Ricky Binihi

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, Oct. 4, 2012) – The investigation sanctioned by caretaker Labour Minister Mr George Wells into alleged discrimination at the Warwick Le Lagon Hotel involving 191 ni-Vanuatu staff has found there is discrimination and abusive words used against staff.

One hundred and ninety one members of Le Lagon staff wrote a letter to the Minister of Internal Affairs complaining about racial comments by their superiors at Vanuatu’s top hotel in August of this year.

Labour Minister Wells ordered the Labour Commissioner Mr Lionel Kalwat to investigate Le Lagon top management on the serious allegations and have reported back to the Minister.

Inspectors at the Labour Department found out that an expatriate manager confirmed that there are discriminations and abusive words towards staff during working hours.

"But local staff would not confirm because they were afraid they would lose their jobs. Report from the guest who was staying at the hotel said managers were acting unprofessional in front of staff and guests, said attitude by the managers confronting staff in front of guests is unprofessional for Tourism Industry. There is no social dialogue at work and few members of staff felt they were working in a hostile work environment," part of the report to the Minister read.

The General Manager Ms Blandine Cressard said staff members that were terminated were staff that had been caught stealing, smoking marijuana during working hours on the premises and drinking on the beach.

But reports by the members of the Le Lagon staff that signed the petition to the minister about the mass firing of staff by the hotel management could not be proven. "Members of staff that were caught stealing from the hotel were terminated based on the hotel hand book," the report said.

Meanwhile the Commissioner of Labour has assured the caretaker Labour Minister that his staff will ensure that the whole issues discovered at the hotel by his inspectors are fully settled by the management before the end of the year.

He has identified three top expatriate managers which Mr Kaluat will "seriously consider renewing their Work Permits" based on the severity of the report.

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