A 20-year-old Latvian woman says she has been relying on food coupons to survive after she was allegedly ‘unfairly sacked’ from her job just weeks before she gave birth.
Ksenia Kislova, who was employed by FRC Recruitment in Portadown, claims she missed just one day of work with a local food company due to pregnancy-related sickness and after that was told she was no longer required.
However, despite not having worked since the end of December, she was not given her P45 and has been unable to claim any type of unemployment benefit.
The young mother, who gave birth to her daughter Veronika just over two weeks ago and speaks very little English, has been relying on the kindness of others.
An acquaintance, translating on her behalf, said, “I have given her some money and she is getting food vouchers from Portadown Health Centre. I have been trying to speak to the recruitment company and other people for her.
“I went to FRC and told them I thought what was happening was unfair.
“Now she is worried about where she is going to find work with a young baby. She says she is not someone who came to this country for benefits. She came here to work, to make a better life for herself and would be very grateful if anyone could give her some part-time work.”
Ksenia, who was brought up by her grandmother in Daugavpils and was an award-winning, national athlete, said, “I came here to change my life for the better and to get a job. Since this problem I also met a lot of new friends and they did help me so I know now there a lot of good people around.
“Now I have got a wee girl, Veronika, and will do my best to bring her up a good person.”
Solicitor Kevin Neary of JPH LAW Solicitors Portadown, who is representing Ms Kislova, said, “I have been in correspondence with FRC Recruitment. My client doesn’t accept the position outlined by the company. We will be taking the matter further.”
A statement issued by FRC Recruitment said, “FRC Recruitment Ltd have been advised by its solicitors that it would be totally inappropriate to comment at this time on any untested allegations made by a former employee of the company when the matter is the subject of private legal correspondence between the parties.”
Craigavon Intercultural Programme (CIP) has also been lending its assistance, helping Ms Kislova to fill out forms and providing nappies and other basic items.
The Portadown Times contacted the Equality Commission for NI. A spokesperson said, “The Equality Commission gives free and confidential advice to anyone who asks for it and feels they have been discriminated against.
“Our team of discrimination advice officers is available on 028 90 500600 to take calls Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm or you can ask for advice or fill in an online form at http://www.equalityni.org/help.”