The unfairness of `fairness at work'

YOU REPORT that the Government is planning to increase maternity leave and introduce other privileges for those with children as part of its Fairness at Work Bill ("Maternity leave to be extended", 24 January). My question is: fair to whom?

There is increasingly a conflict in the workplace between the demands of employees with children and the customer. The former want only to work in the middle of the day and sometimes only during term-time. The latter want service 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The result of this is that employees without children, or whose children have grown up, are expected to work harder and more unsocial hours than their colleagues to try to cover the gap. Those without children also find their colleagues refuse to change their hours to cover for holidays or time off, even though they will have been expected to work over when the others want leave or their children are ill.

The Government must realise that what is needed is fairness for all. If it insists on these measures then it should ensure that those without children are also compensated in some way. This could either be financially, or by more generous leave allowances, to compensate for their efforts.