BA stewardesses bring sex discrimination case

Twelve
British Airways stewardesses have taken the airline to an industrial tribunal
claiming sex discrimination.

The
stewardesses claim the airline harmed their promotion prospects by offering
them part-time contracts when they returned to work after having children.

The
system of offering part-time contracts ran from 1979 to 1984, but the women
allege they suffered when seeking promotion as late as 1996.

The
12 women, all in their fifties, were among a small group of workers that signed
peak workload contracts in 1979. The contracts meant that the women were
permanently employed by the airline, but were called in only when extra staff
were needed.

The
women claim that as length of service counted towards promotion this meant in
some cases they couldn’t apply for advancement until 1996.

In
response, BA said that the women were not discriminated against and that it
took equal opportunities "very seriously".

Official
figures released this week show that sex discrimination cases taken to tribunal
have leapt by 76 per cent in the past year.

By Mike Berry

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