Plea to halt sacking of pregnant workers

Click to follow
The Independent Online
(First Edition)

LEGAL moves to prevent women workers being sacked because they were pregnant should be taken by the Government, the National Association of Citizens' Advice Bureaux urged yesterday.

The association presented 'extensive evidence' of companies dismissing pregnant women.

It said the Government should sign the European Commission Directive on Pregnant Workers, which was to be discussed at an informal meeting in Chepstow yesterday of EC employment and social affairs ministers.

The draft directive will lapse next month if agreement cannot be reached at the two-day meeting.

The association wrote to Gillian Shephard, Secretary of State for Employment, who chairs the meeting, urging her to sign the directive and use the forthcoming Employment Bill to give new rights to pregnant women.

Ann Abraham, head of the association, said: 'The Government has the opportunity to do something very basic for women workers, that is to outlaw dismissal for pregnancy.

'The current situation departs from the commitment in the Conservative manifesto and the Government's stated aim of providing opportunities for women at work. They should uphold their principles and adopt the directive.'

The association said many pregnant women who were sacked had no redress because they did not meet the two years employment condition that would enable them to claim unfair dismissal.

Three bureaux, in Hampshire, Oxfordshire and South Wales, reported recent cases of pregnant women being sacked.