As if failing to support mandatory pay audits wasn’t enough to suggest that the Equality and Human Rights Commission isn’t working as it should, its plans to axe the Manchester branch of its helpline – which handled over 50,000 enquiries last year – and to cut jobs at the Glasgow and Cardiff branches do seem to show that the organisation isn’t as committed to fairness and equality as it should be.
In total, 50 posts are set to be cut. This comes at a time when calls to the helpline are increasing due to the recession and promotion surrounding the ‘Your Right To Fly’ campaign, aimed at helping travellers with disabilities; the Commission had previously refused to advertise the helpline.
The Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) is fighting back against the plans. Sue Bond, PCS national vice president, said:
This is a key frontline service that provides support and advice for people who face discrimination in all its forms in every walk of life. It makes no sense to cut helpline posts at a time when call volumes are increasing. The EHRC need to think again and recognise that the service skilled and professional staff deliver is too valuable to downsize.
Apparently the EHRC hasn’t even performed Equality Impact Assessment of the plan, in breach of the equality duties it is charged with enforcing.
You can support the workers and the helpline by:
- Complaining to Trevor Phillips at the EHRC, Harriet Harman, Minister for Women, Maria Eagle, Equalities Minister, and Hazel Blears (Minister with responsibility for race equality).
- Writing to your MP and asking them to sign the Early Day Motion 1119
- Referring people to the helpline. England: 0845 604 6610; Wales: 0845 604 8810; Scotland: 0845 604 5510