Draft law on equality for teachers supported by the Assembly
Yesterday, a motion in the Assembly called for an end to religious discrimination in the teaching profession.
Unionist Ulster MP Robbie Butler and SDLP MP Daniel McCrossan have expressed disappointment at the absence of ministers present for the debate.
And Alliance MP Chris Lyttle, chairman of the Stormont education committee, said he was “really shocked” by the executive members’ non-attendance.
Mr Lyttle is presenting a private member’s bill to the House to repeal laws which mean teachers in Northern Ireland remain exempt from fair employment legislation.
“In the absence of any explanation, it is hard not to conclude that the failure of an executive minister to participate is consistent with the failure to answer this equality question,” he said.
The motion was presented to the Assembly by UUP, seeking to recognize “an archaic and unfair barrier to fair employment for teachers in our diverse community”.
Supporting the motion, Sinn Fein MP Pat Sheehan told the assembly that “all teachers should be able to enjoy the same legislative protection as other workers”.
Geraldine McGahey, chief commissioner of the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland, said her organization had long recommended removing the teachers’ exception.
“We believe that teachers should be able to enjoy the same legislative protections as other workers, that it is no longer acceptable to exclude all teachers from the provisions of the equity in matters legislation. ‘job,’ she said.
Download the Belfast Telegraph app
Get quick and easy access to the latest news, sports, business and opinion from Northern Ireland with the Belfast Telegraph app.