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Romanian Slaves in the Embassies in Bucharest

Autor: Gabriel Burlacu Eugen Ciufu 28 Sep 2005 - 00:00
Romanian Slaves in the Embassies in Bucharest

For a fee a little higher than the minimum salary, numerous Romanian clerks in several countries’ embassies in Bucharest agree to be humiliated and exploited. Some decided to speak out after being "dismissed". Others still tolerate, waiting for a wonder from the Romanian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) or from the Bucharest Employment Department. We will show today the "diplomatic" manner in which the Romanians are treated in an embassy that represents some people that want to be our friends.

A few weeks ago, three Romanian clerks working for the Indian Embassy have been "dismissed". We use the inverted comas because they couldn’t have benefited from such an "honor" since they have been working illegally for some years because the Indians didn’t want to reach to any working agreements with them. We have to say the "employees" didn’t work as gardeners or drivers, but they were consular officers and commercial assistants. Jurnalul National managed to reach the three clerks and got them to talk. They feared at first saying it would be very hard for them to get another job in similar positions. They decided to talk eventually hoping that the situation in other embassies in which illegal things happen would normalize.

The Fight for Dignity

We will quote approximately the entire statements of the three former employees of the Indian Embassy saying they "take full responsibility for the truth" in their statements. "The time spent at the Indian Embassy represented a permanent fight for keeping our dignity, and we had to accept insults, offensive addressing manners, obvious sexually related hints, extended schedules, and requests for some services for the Indian personnel that weren’t our job. This happened very often. We have addressed to the Embassy’s office about these breakings of our rights and the abusive attitude of the Indian personnel, even with written reports, but nothing happened for this to normalize. The situation that led to us getting unemployed started when the ambassador changed. On the 27th of July 2005, instead of E. S. Ajai Malhotra, Mr. Ram Mohan came on duty - who is far from being a diplomat. Mr Ram Mohan broke the professional and moral ethics when he requested as many colorful newspapersas possible or when he wanted us to throw away or burn certain books with white covers in the library simply because it looked bad, when he chewed plants in the morning that made him euphoric and when he asked us to come in his office to tell us about his extra conjugal sexual stories, and, mostly, when he decided to dismiss us because we hadn’t been loyal to the Indian Republic. On the 15th of August, each year, the Indian Independence Day is celebrated, and this is a day with a great meaning for the Indian people, and this is when the Embassy organizes certain events, like meetings with the representatives of the Indian communities in Romania or receptions for Romanian diplomats and for Romanian and Indian businesspersons. This year, the head of the Office, Mr. Ram Karam Goel told us the Romanian staff is not needed because they would organize only a small meeting with resident Indians in Romania, so we were free on the 15th of August. When we came back to work on the 16th of August, we were told we had been dismissed because of our lack of respect for the Indian Republic which we had offended by not being present at that meeting. When confronted, the head of the Office refused admitting he had let us go on the 15th of August (…)

"The Contract".

(…) The Embassy of the Indian Republic systematically refused to make legal the services of the Romanian personnel by signing individual or collective working contracts, which would have made the work legal. The annual summons sent by the Territorial Employment Department in Bucharest and by the National Protocol Direction in the MEA, which requested the Embassy to submit several papers attesting the payment of the taxes, which would have come from a labor contract, have been ignored each time under the pretext that the Embassy is an Indian territory where no Romanian authority has jurisdiction. This way, the Romanian laws as well as the rights of its citizens were broken, and the MEA knew about it", the three former "employees" of the Indian Embassy of the Indian Republic end their statements.

Answerless Questions

In order to get the point of view of the Indian Embassy, we have officially addressed online to the Secretariat of the diplomatic mission as well as to Mr. Ram Mohan, the ambassador of this country. We will show this questions and let you, the readers and the Romanian authorities, judge the answer we received from this diplomatic mission: "To his Excellency, The Ambassador of India in Bucharest, Mr. Ram Mohan. (…) We have been told that some diplomatic missions accredited in Romania, the Indian Embassy being one of them, find it very hard in respecting the Labor Code in Romanian. This legislation says that registering the labor contracts at the Territorial Employment Departments and, of course, paying all the taxes to the Romanian state is compulsory. The fact that you refuse to offer a legal environment for the Romanian personnel in the diplomatic mission to work in is a hint that you encourage working under the counter, which is illegal in Romania.

1. Why does the Government of the Indian Republic refuse to sign legal labor contracts with the Romanian personnel that works for its Embassy in Bucharest, in spite of the verbal notes sent to the Territorial Employment Department in Bucharest, with the help of the Romanian Ministry of External Affairs?

2. Which are the legal grounds for the remuneration of the Romanian personnel and of other benefits and obligations that are normally stipulated in a labor contract? What regulates their rights and obligations in the absence of such a contract?

3. Is there any agreement between you and the Romanian state regarding the employment of the local work force? If yes, please give some details!

Jurnalul National wants to publish this material as soon as possible, for the Romanian readers to be aware of this situation. This is why we have requested for the point of view of the Indian Embassy in Bucharest."

Slum-like Diplomacy

The answer of the Embassy is shocking. It has no logical basis and it makes you think it belongs to a person with no contact to the reality, and we cannot find the reasons for it. It has free insults and the message doesn’t exist. Here it is: "Dear Sir, I know very well the person or persons that tricked you into writing this letter or e-mail. I am really surprised at the fact that a journalist or you could defend some disloyal people, too intelligent, with no fidelity and unworthy of the newspaper in which them or you wrote or, better said, threatened (!!! - n. e.) the Indian Embassy. Fortunately, you seem not to have an adequate education and give a negative image to the Romanian journalism. The Indian Embassy respects all the regulations stipulated by the reciprocity with the Romanian friendly nation. If your newspaper doesn’t believe in the principle of reciprocity, you can join the local malcontent employees which we dismissed because of their criminal actions (!!! - n. e.) and you should stay next to the society’s not wanted people. You don’t even deserve to be greeted by this Embassy. The Embassy of the friendly Indian Republic". Signs "Ram Mohan". We have to admit we hope Ram Mohan didn’t write this answer, since he is the ambassador, and that another person that has access to his personal e-mail wrote it. If Ram Mohan claims this answer, or if he cannot prove he isn’t the author, we ask the Romanian Ministry of External Affairs to invite this ambassador for clarifications or even their Indian counterparts to call him back in his country.

The MEA knows!

The Romanian Ministry of External Affairs doesn’t say anything about any alleged reciprocity. Moreover, the MEA says "the statute of the Romanian personnel employed here by the accredited diplomatic missions in Romania, is set by the Government Decision no. 995 in 2003. It says the diplomatic missions have to register at the Territorial Employment Department in Bucharest the individual labor contracts agreed by them and the Romanian citizens and they have to prove they pay the salaries, as well as the papers to show the monthly payment of the taxes." In the same time, the MEA says it has requested "the foreign diplomatic mission accredited in Bucharest to abide by the laws regarding the registering of the labor contracts."
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