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Mayfair casino guilty of race discrimination, tribunal finds

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Mayfair casino guilty of race discrimination, tribunal finds

An exclusive London casino racially discriminated against one of its dealers by allowing a request by a patron not to have black dealers at their table, an employment tribunal has found.

Semhar Tesfagiorgis, 41, successfully sued Crown London Aspinalls, in Mayfair, over an incident in December 2019, when she and a black colleague were prevented from working at the table of a patron who had requested “females with fair skin”.

The casino had tried to argue that the reason for not allowing Tesfagiorgis and her colleague to deal to the patron was not because of race but because of the perception that it was necessary to accommodate patrons’ request, no matter how unreasonable, in order to the further the interests of the business. This was rejected by the three-person panel sitting at London central employment tribunal, led by Judge Elliot.

In a written judgment, it said: “Our finding is that the claimant and her black female colleagues were held back from going on duty because they were not ‘fair-skinned, female dealers’ or ‘western looking female staff’ …

“The accommodation of the request was direct race discrimination of the claimant because but for her race she would have been asked to deal to the patron. The granting of that request was less favourable treatment by the managers because of race.”

The tribunal also found that a complaint relating to an incident in June 2015 would have succeeded as an act of direct race discrimination but was time-barred because the claim had been brought too late.

In that incident, Aspinalls refused to accommodate a request by Tesfagiorgis for a shift swap because a patron did not want a black female dealer.

The panel said: “The shift swap was refused because of the claimant’s race, she did not fit the patron’s requirement for ‘white female dealers only’ which the respondent accommodated. The reason the claimant was not one of the patron’s preferred dealers is because she was not white. The refusal of the shift swap was less favourable treatment of the claimant because of her race.”

The panel noted that the casino had only one slide on a presentation given during training that dealt with patrons’ behaviour, describing the training as “inadequate”.

Comparing her victory to David versus Goliath, Tesfagiorgis, who worked as an inspector/dealer at Aspinalls between 2017 and 2020, said: “I tried for many years to open a dialogue about the racism myself and many others were often faced with but I was either shut down, ignored or gaslighted each time.

“The direct discrimination myself and other black colleagues received was not an isolated incident. Although the tribunal could not rule on past events due to time limits, they have acknowledged this was the case and for once Crown Aspinalls will finally be forced to do the same, for this I am grateful to the employment tribunal.”

Her solicitor, Shazia Khan, a founding partner of Cole Khan, said she hoped the judgment led to “root and branch reform of the casino and gaming industry to address the racist and sexist conduct that drove my client out of a career she clearly loved”.

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Business

Adopting CNG can reduce Nigeria’s inflation – FG

The Nigerian government has said that successfully adopting Compressed Natural Gas can reduce inflation, which soared to 33.69 per cent in April 2024.

The Programme Director of the Presidential Initiative on Compressed Natural Gas, Pi-CNG, Michael Oluwagbemi, disclosed this during a one-day South-South and South-East stakeholders’ engagement meeting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

He noted that Nigerians can realize between 40 to 50 per cent savings from petrol upon adopting CNG.

“It can reduce inflation. It is cheaper. You can realize between 40% and 50% savings from patrol. This is good for Nigeria, and it is safer.

“It is 18 times safer than petrol and diesel. It is cleaner and safer for the environment,” he said.

He added that Nigeria would save about $2.5 billion by converting every one million vehicles to CNG.

Recall that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu asked all federal government ministries, departments and agencies to procure CNG buses.

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Nigeria won’t need to import fuel by June — Dangote

Aliko Dangote, Chairman of the Dangote Group, announced that by next month, Nigeria will no longer need to import gasoline due to the operational plans of the Dangote Refinery.

Speaking as a panellist at the Africa CEO Forum Annual Summit in Kigali, Dangote highlighted that the refinery, which has already commenced supplying diesel and aviation fuel in Nigeria, has the capacity to fulfil the diesel and petrol needs of West Africa and the aviation fuel requirements for the entire African continent.

Dangote emphasised, “Right now, Nigeria has no cause to import anything apart from gasoline, and by sometime in June, within the next four or five weeks, Nigeria shouldn’t import anything like gasoline; not one drop of a litre.”

Highlighting how far the oil company has come, Dangote expressed how they are focused on ensuring that the continent will depend less on imports in the near future.

“We have enough gasoline to give to at least the entire West Africa, and diesel to give to West Africa and Central Africa. We have enough aviation fuel to give to the entire continent and also export some to Brazil and Mexico,” he said.

“Today, our polypropylene and our polyethene will meet the entire demand of Africa, and we are doing base oil, which is like engine oil; we are doing linear benzyl, which is a raw material to produce detergent. We have 1.4 billion people in the population; nobody is producing that in Africa.

“So, all the raw materials for our detergents are imported. We are producing that raw material to make Africa self-sufficient.

“As I said, give us three or a maximum of four years, and Africa will not, I repeat, not import any more fertiliser from anywhere.

“We will make Africa self-sufficient in potash, phosphate, and urea; we are at three million metric tonnes, and in the next twenty months, we will be at six million metric tonnes of urea, which is the entire capacity of Egypt. We are getting there.”

Dangote recalled how his dream for further investment in Africa as well as ending fuel importation in Africa has culminated in what is now one of the biggest refineries in the world.

“For some of us, despite the boom of the capital market in the US—you know, Google, Microsoft, and the rest—we didn’t participate; we took all our money and invested in Africa.

“We had this dream just about five years ago, and we said we wanted to move from five billion dollars in revenue to thirty billion dollars in revenue, and we made it happen. It is possible and now we have made it happen and now we have finished our refinery.

“Our refinery is quite big; it is something that we believe that Africa needs. If you look at the whole continent, there are only two countries that don’t import petroleum products, which is a tragedy.

“They are only Algeria and Libya. The rest are all importers. So, we need to change and make sure that we don’t just go and produce raw materials; we should also produce finished products and create jobs.

Speaking further, the African richest man said, “One of the things we also need to know as Africans is that we produce raw materials and export them when you export raw materials and somebody now keeps importing things into your continent and dumping goods. what you are importing is poverty and exporting jobs. So, we have to change that narrative.”

“We just commissioned in February, and now we are producing jet fuel, diesel, and by next month, gasoline.

“What that would do is that we would be taking most of the African crude that is being produced and also be able to supply not only Nigeria because our capacity is too big for Nigeria, but it would also supply West Africa, Central Africa, and also South Africa.

“We have 650,000 barrels per day, 1 million metric tonnes of polypropylene, and 590,000 metric tonnes of carbon black; those are the raw materials—ink, dyes and co.

“We are expanding more. This is the first phase and we are going out to the next phase, which will start early next year.”(tribune)

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Business

Customs FX rate for import duties rises to N1,530/$

The foreign exchange (FX) rate for import duties has been adjusted by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to N1,530 per dollar.

This was adopted on Friday, May 17, representing a 6.13 percent increase compared to the N1,441.58 adopted on May 6.

The NCS always adopts FX rates recommended by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for import duties based on trading activities in the official FX market

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