Equality rep rights plea to MPs as TUC targets ministers

Impassioned pleas were made last night for ministers to intervene in the plight of union equality representatives.

Equalities minister Harriet Harman and business secretary John Hutton received a battering on the issue from up to 100 members of union umbrella body the TUC.

Delegates at the event in Westminster called on the government to grant statutory rights for equality reps, many of whom said they had struggled to receive respect or support from their employers.

“Diversity is essential to the HR profession,” Hutton told Personnel Today following the conference. “It’s central to any personnel strategy.”

Harman spoke briefly about the draft Equality Bill, and all but confirmed the outlawing of age discrimination in the provision of goods and services. The Bill is also expected to offer new protection to ethnic minorities and gay and lesbian staff.

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