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Workforce monitor reveals continued problems of discrimination

10 December, 2004

Sinn Féin spokesperson for Equality, Human Rights and Women, South Down MLA Caitriona Ruane, commenting on the publication by the Equality Commission of its Monitoring Report in the workforce said that it provided evidence of 'how much work was still required to redress the workforce imbalance.

Ms Ruane said:

"The monitoring statistics released by the Equality Commission show a slight increase in the Catholic representation in the workforce. Among public sector full-time employees this growth was 0.8% while in the private sector among full time employees the growth was 1.1%. Such an increase is welcome, however the statistics are also evidence of how much work still has to be done to redress the imbalance in the workforce which results from decades of structured discrimination.

"The reality is that the Catholic share of the workforce is still below the Catholic proportion of the economically active population.

"In the Public sector 55.1% of the overall composition is Protestant and 39.8% Catholic while in the Private sector the protestant share is 55.6% protestant and 39.4% catholic.

"When it comes to the composition of the private sector with 26 plus employees the pattern of under-representation of Catholics more stark. Among some of the larger employers such as Harland & Wolff - employing 12 Catholics and 235 protestants - Group 4 Securities, Henry Brothers Magherafelt, HHI Building products, Issac Agnew, Gallagher Ltd, the City and International airports and Shorts Brothers PLC which all employee a disproportionate numbers of Catholics in their workforces. Shorts Brothers in particular employs a mere 14.8% Catholics as against some 85.2% Protestants.

"The same pattern of under-representation is replicated among government departments, education, and health boards in predominantly protestant areas and in many district councils including Belfast and Lisburn."

"This latest report needs to be carefully analysed. But it demonstrates the importance for the continual monitoring of the workforce in order to identify those public and private sector employers who need to be made to comply more fully with employment and equality legislation." ENDS

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