25 July 2018 | The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Jamaica has released a statement asking the country’s employers to respect workers’ religious freedoms. According to The Gleaner, the statement released Tuesday referenced a report from the National Workers’ Union (NWU) regarding an Adventist employee at the Petroleum Company of Jamaica (Petcom) whom it claims was suspended without pay on December 28, 2017, after 26 years of continuous service, due to his refusal to work on Saturdays.

“Based on what is presented to me by the worker and the NWU, there seems to be a clear and blatant breach of the right of the worker to his freedom of worship,” said Nigel Coke, president of the Adventist Church in Jamaica, referring to the worker who remains suspended.

Coke is secretary general of the National Religious Liberty Association in the country. He stressed that Jamaica’s Charter of Fundamental Rights of the Constitution, as well as the Employment Act make religious discrimination an industrial dispute.

“As a church, we welcome the support of a trade union in this critical matter and also call on the support of employer associations to join in the effort to promote and foster respect for the rights of workers with regards to their freedom from religious discrimination at the workplace,” said Coke.

In a press statement Petcom refused to comment on the allegation that the worker was suspended for refusing to work on Saturday.

According to the Seventh-day Adventist denomination’s Office of Archives Statistics and Research, there are 304,021 members and 683 churches in Jamaica.

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