Category: Archive

Report cites equality gains in workplace

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

The Commission said the new figures show the religious makeup of the workforce is now a “very fair pattern.” Catholics are less likely to be under represented in the workforce now than when monitoring began, it says.
But the Sinn Fein spokesperson for equality, Caitriona Ruane, said much work still needs to be done to redress the workforce imbalance, which, she said, is unfair to Catholics.
“The statistics show a slight increase in the Catholic representation in the workforce,” she admitted. “Among public-sector full-time employees this growth was 0.8 percent, while in the private sector among full time employees the growth was 1.1 percent.
“Such an increase is welcome, but the Catholic share of the workforce is still below the Catholic proportion of the economically active population. When it comes to the composition of the private sector with 26-plus employees, the pattern of under-representation of Catholics is more stark,”
She said this was particularly true of the large private-sector employers. Harland & Wolff, for example, employs 12 Catholics and 235 Protestants and Shorts Brothers employs 14.8 percent Catholics and 85.2 percent Protestants.
The Commission said there are areas of the public sector where Protestant under-representation is becoming more marked. Protestants make up 58.3 percent of the workforce and Catholics 41.7 percent. In the public sector, 55.1 percent of the overall composition is Protestant and 39.8 percent Catholic, while in the private sector, the Protestant share is 55.6 percent and 39.4 percent Catholic.
Eileen Lavery, director of policy and research, said the pattern is that the community composition of the monitored workforce is very close to the composition of those who are available for work.
“Protestants are much better represented in retirement age bands, but there is higher representation of Catholics in the age bands for which recruitment is likely to take place,” she said.
“Our staff, who work individually with every employer, are as vigilant in the case of Protestant under-representation as they are in the case of Catholic under-representation.”
The DUP spokesman on fair employment, Gregory Campbell, said the figures showed that Protestant community numbers in employment have fallen by 1,176 while the Catholic numbers have increased by 5,260 in the same 12-month period.
“The Commission has been told frequently about the need to face the realities of employment disadvantage by the Protestant community,” he said. “If they are not prepared to face up to the logic of their own facts, then they must be replaced by a body that is.”

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