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surely this is positive discrimation taken too far

(93 Posts)
downthedustpipe Tue 14-Jun-11 15:24:59

All our department has to apply for jobs at their level. We all know that jobs are going.
I am a level 4 worker and there are 9 people at that level. There is 6 jobs going.
So I would have thought we all have a good go at applying for it by application form and interview and the best 6 win and 3 lose.

However 2 women are currently on mat leave. We have been told by HR and the Union that these women's jobs are guarnteed. They don't have to go through any process and they remain a level 4 worker without having to fight it out with the rest of us. They are doing the same job, same pay, same terms and conditions as the rest of us.

So what we really have is 9 people going for 4 jobs. One has started mat leave and has said she is going to be off for at least a year. There won't be Mat cover.
The team is a mixed sex team with differing ages from 28 to 58.
(not that it makes a difference - just giving the whole picture)
We are a large local authority BTW

What are your thoughts?

I may post this in a different section to see if opinions differ.

thefirstMrsDeVere Tue 14-Jun-11 15:28:33

Its the law isnt it?

To protect pregnant women from being sacked.

Unfortunately many still are.

Long way to go before the balance is redressed tbh.

Not the pg woman's fault that there will be no cover. That is down to bad management.

Women make up a large proportion fo the workforce particularly in the public sector.

Women get pregnant.

bettydraperswardrobeelf Tue 14-Jun-11 15:32:16

Yeah, I think there is special protection for women on mat leave. This might help

RitaMorgan Tue 14-Jun-11 15:32:40

It's not positive discrimination, it's protecting pregnant workers.

kirrinIsland Tue 14-Jun-11 15:35:25

Seems unfair to me. My understanding of mat leave and potential redundancy is that they should be considered on an equal footing to everyone else - you can't make a pregnant woman or someone on mat leave redundant because they're pregnant/on mat leave but they shouldn't be immune to it either. That's how it is here anyway - I am also public sector. I guess different places have different procedures. Might be worth kicking up a stink querying it though?

downthedustpipe Tue 14-Jun-11 15:35:38

Sure they get pregnant. No problem with that.

However surely it is not fair to guarntee someone a job just because they have managed to reproduce and are on their mat leave.
One of the people off has been in the office for 2 and half years and has the basic qualifcations and she gets a job while another women has been there 15 years and has more qualifications and a wider range of cases.

How is it right that one can potential lose her job while the other is sitting pretty without proving she can do the job better than the other candidates.

HarrietJones Tue 14-Jun-11 15:36:42

Ive just kept my job under same grounds. They've screwed me over on other counts so I'm just v relieved I've kept my job this time.

Though I've not got the exact job as they've renamed it and I think that's how I did, it was something to do with it. I've also moved bases/teams and hours have changed.

MrSpoc Tue 14-Jun-11 15:36:55

I agree op. I understand pregnant women need protection in the workfoce but when a number of people are about to loose their jobs (they may also have children etc) then the selection process should be fair and available for all concerned.

manicinsomniac Tue 14-Jun-11 15:38:14

It seems very unfair to me but I suppose it's an unfortunate coincidence of their taking materinity leave at the same time as these redundancies are going to happen.

The law says pregnant women's jobs have to be protected so, even though some jobs are being lost anyway, by definition they can't be theirs.

Horribly unfair to you but probably nothing the company can do about it.

downthedustpipe Tue 14-Jun-11 15:39:14

The point I was making was not that I want a pregnant worker to lose their job because they are pregnant.
Let me make that clear - that is wrong.
But how can some one be safe JUST BECAUSE they are on Mat leave.

It was suggested that a matrix system could be used. However this would have meant that one of the mat leave women would have kept her job and the other would have lost and this was unacceptable to HR.

aliceliddell Tue 14-Jun-11 15:39:27

It could be argued that by going along with this 'reapplying for fewer jobs' thing, you are drawn into accepting the cuts and management are playing 'divide and rule'. Once you accept that, you get winners and losers. How to choose? Don't. There are public sector strikes on June 30th. Join them.

swanker Tue 14-Jun-11 15:41:38

No- the law says they must be treated fairly, and not discriminated against because they are pg or on mat leave.

Most companies however avoid making pg/mat leave workers redundant as it is difficult to prove that they were not discriminated against in the redundancy process.

TidyDancer Tue 14-Jun-11 15:42:52

I completely agree with you, OP

MrSpoc Tue 14-Jun-11 15:43:12

At the same time it would be hard to prove that they were selected because they were pregnant especially if they can show a fair and proper selection criteria.

ooohyouareawfulbutilikeyou Tue 14-Jun-11 15:43:42

how dreadful OP

thats not on at all

FreudianSlipper Tue 14-Jun-11 15:45:14

have you tried looking for a job when you have jsut had a baby. i was paid off made redundant while i was on maternity leave. i started looking for a job and it was so hard (i am also single) it should not have gone against me that i have a young child but it would be naive to think that it does not

there has to be laws to protect women on maternity leave otherwise too many companies would take advantage of sacking them

TimeWasting Tue 14-Jun-11 15:49:28

Look at it from managements perspective, if they made a pregnant woman redundant they would be open to accusations of discrimination on those grounds.

Agree with alice though, join the union and strike.

MrSpoc Tue 14-Jun-11 15:49:30

FreudianSlipper - this still does not make it right or fair. Not sure why you would tell your interviewer that you have just had a baby or have a young single family if you beleive it would go against you.

As others have already said, yes there are laws there to protect the vulnerable but it does not mean that they garentee them a job no matter what but instead they have to be treated fairly.

GwendolineMaryLacey Tue 14-Jun-11 15:50:21

7 people going for 4 jobs surely? You're still only losing 3 people.

But yes, my understanding was that if redundancies were in the offing then women on mat leave should be treated equally to everyone else. But you couldn't make them redundant purely because they were pg.

downthedustpipe Tue 14-Jun-11 15:50:29

I agree with you about companies taking advantage and sacking.
But what I am saying is surely some sort of level playing field would be fairer for everyone.
Like someone else said in the office there isn't going to be many places that want to employer a women when she is nearly 59. Whose looking after her?

We suggested that a matrix system that was used with the higher managers redundancy would have been fairer.

DunderMifflin Tue 14-Jun-11 15:50:35

surely if a matrix system means that one pg person keeps their job and another doesn't then the council would be able to prove a case in the event of an unfair dismissal claim?

hildathebuilder Tue 14-Jun-11 15:52:00

its the law. If they did anything else they would lose both unfair dismissl and sex discrimination cases.

Once there is a potential redundancy sitaution preganant workers get a trump card and the company/organisation has a duty to give them the jobs which are available as an alternative to redundancy.

the law gives pregnant workers and those on mat leave greater rights in this scenario.

hildathebuilder Tue 14-Jun-11 15:53:01

Dunder usually what the council would say is that everyone in the pool is redundant and the other jobs are alternaives. That gets round the issue. there are years of case law on this

downthedustpipe Tue 14-Jun-11 15:53:15

I am in the union and the union support this!!!


MrSpoc Tue 14-Jun-11 15:55:10

hildathebuilder - i may be wrong but i understood the law to say that you cannot treat the pregnant worker unfairly. I did not realise that you had to give them priority over redundancies. I thought that you just had to treat them fairly and the same as everyone else.

Is this true??

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