Concerns over discrimination

Craigavon Lakes and Civic Centre. INPT24-300.
Craigavon Lakes and Civic Centre. INPT24-300.

It’s understood that employees within Craigavon Council are claiming religious discrimination in terms of recruitment practices there.

We have been contacted by a number of members of the waste management and cleansing team who allege the council have employed more Catholics than Protestants in that particular department.

One council employee said he felt “intimidated by the inequality”.

Another said there were almost twice as many Catholics as Protestants within the team, plus a number of agency staff all of whom were Catholic.

“No Protestants are being started at all,” he said.

With all data relating to people’s religion being confidential in any business or public sector organisation the ‘MAIL’ questioned the man as to how such specific figures could be quoted.

The disgruntled employee claimed that council would confirm the statistics, though not surprisingly they confirmed what we already knew that such data was strictly private.

The complainants said both the Equality Commission and Democratic Unionist Party had been contacted about the perceived inequality.

DUP group leader Alderman Carla Lockhart said they were investigating the allegation.

She said: “We as a party have been approached in relation to this issue and are currently in the process of investigating the matter to ensure that the correct methods are being used to recruit new members of staff.

“Elected members do not have any direct involvement in recruitment and selection for council positions and therefore it is our intention to ensure that equality legislation is being adhered to by those who have direct responsibility for it.”

Alderman Lockhart went on to say: “Our party takes very seriously any suggestion that fair employment rules have not been adhered to and we will work to ensure that Craigavon Borough Council follows the rules and regulations 
surrounding fair employment.”

The Equality Commission gives advice to people who believe they may have suffered discrimination based on political or religious beliefs.

They offer a free and confidential service.

When contacted in relation to the claims the commission replied it cannot comment on individual cases.

Council did not wish to make a comment on the allegations.