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Inequalities and discrimination still exist in the workforce

11 May, 2007

Sinn Féin Equality and Human rights spokesperson MLA Martina Anderson has said it is very worrying that despite major advances in fighting discrimination at work, that mounting inequalities in income and opportunities, significant and persistent forms of workplace discrimination are causing growing concern.

Ms Anderson was responding to a new report entitled 'Equality at work: Tackling the challenges' by the International Labour Organisation which accomplishes its work through three main bodies, all of which comprise government, employer and worker representatives.

Ms Anderson said:

"Its is worrying that this report has found that still today women earn less than men for the same jobs throughout the world despite increasing their numbers in the workforce.

"The report also found that the Gay and lesbian community, people with HIV/Aids or disabilities and women all face new and subtle forms of discrimination. Forms of discrimination based on age and sexual orientation are emerging, while practices penalising people with genetic predisposition to certain illnesses or those with lifestyles deemed unhealthy are increasing.

"It's disturbing that while anti-discrimination efforts are increasing in the formal economy, a growing informal economy represents a vast and moving target for public policies seeking to remove obstacles preventing hundreds of millions of people from enjoying equal opportunities at work.

"There was also examples of discrimination against migrant workers. Migrant workers and their families are invaluable to our economy both as employees and consumers but they need to be treated with the same respect and dignity that is afforded to our own indigenous population. It is unacceptable that there can be such a sharp increase in racism and discrimination in the workplace.

"There is clearly a huge job of work to be done if we are to successfully challenge many of the negative attitudes which exist to difference and diversity in our society. In order to achieve this, we need a concerted active campaign to root out, challenge and eliminate discrimination wherever it exists." ENDS

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