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Electors, Public, Staff, Voluntary & Charity Workers join Vigil outside Wandsworth Council (4-7pm) Tonight to save Father-of-Three’s Job before Christmas

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Press Release

For Immediate Release

15 December 2009

Electors, Public, Staff, Voluntary & Charity Workers join Vigil outside Wandsworth Council (4-7pm) Tonight

to save Father-of-Three’s Job before Christmas

It has been described as a modern-day version right-out of the pages of a modern-day Christmas Carol.

One hard-working man, Duke Amachree, 53, just about bringing in enough to put bread on the table for his three kids, is hoping today that his employer, Wandsworth Council will give him back his job just days before Christmas.

So incensed were Duke’s family, friends and fellow employees with the draconian actions of council employers, that last week they launched the ‘Justice For Duke’ Campaign.  Their aim was to raise public support for the Christian employee who was unfairly dismissed in July 2009 for mentioning God in the workplace. The campaign has seen advert placements on London buses, a day of prayer throughout hundreds of churches across London on Sunday and tonight (15th), a candlelight vigil outside Wandsworth Town Hall on the evening of the appeal. 

The Christian Legal Centre which is supporting Duke in this case, like hundreds of others across the UK said that in its experience Wandsworth’s treatment of Duke is one of the most “astonishing for the extreme treatment of a long serving employee when there was no breach of contract and where the supposed ‘misdemeanour’ was the merest mention of God”.

Andrea Williams, Director of the Christian Legal Centre, representing Mr Amachree, said today: “Duke is a gentle, intelligent and compassionate man who served Wandsworth Council diligently for18 years – providing a vital service as a homelessness prevention officer.

“One day, in a client meeting, a woman spoke of her illness, which doctors had pronounced incurable. Moved by compassion Duke, a sincere and kind-hearted man of faith, offered comfort by commenting that sometimes the doctors don’t know everything and encouraging her to consider putting her faith in God. Two days later Duke was handed a letter informing him he had been suspended, had his ID pass confiscated and was escorted from the premises.

“Is this really the Britain we live in? Whether we have faith or not, to the mind of every reasonable person I speak to, this treatment is astonishing.

“We at the Christian Legal Centre are in full support of Duke Amachree and invite all reasonable people to call for Duke to be reinstated at his internal appeal hearing taking place at Wandsworth Town Hall on 15th December.

“Full details about the campaign can be found at  www.justiceforduke.com. We hope this will be a rallying point of support for a good man terribly treated in a Britain nobody visiting our time from the 1950s would recognise or want to believe was real. Amazingly, Duke’s solicitor was even told in a meeting prior to Duke’s dismissal that it was not advisable to say ‘God bless’ either, giving rise to the very apt headline earlier this year ‘Say “God Bless” and We’ll Sack You’.”

Andrea Minichiello Williams added: “I hope this campaign will not only win Duke back his job in time for Christmas but also send a signal that the majority of people in Britain, whatever their beliefs, can see this for what it is and demand a return to a proportionate, common sense approach to religious faith in our society. Indeed, this I believe would make an excellent Christmas present for us all”.

ENDS.

For Media Interviews and full access to Duke and supports outside Wandsworth Council available from:

Andrea Minichiello Williams 07712591164

Michael Phillips (Solicitor): 07739 094499

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