Unions call for action on “industrial scale” discrimination against pregnant workers

pregnant womanUnions are calling for urgent action from the government to tackle workplace discrimination against pregnant women at work.

A report from the Women and Equalities Select Committee today says over the last decade 25% of women left their jobs because health and safety concerns regarding pregnancy and maternity were not met.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Pregnancy discrimination forces tens of thousands of women out of their jobs every year. It is not just confined to a few workplaces, it is happening on an industrial scale.

“Today’s report must lead to action. As well as extending protection for pregnant women and new mums, the government must stop charging women up to £1,200 to take a pregnancy discrimination claim. The introduction of tribunal fees has been a gift for Britain’s worst bosses and allowed them to get away with mistreating pregnant women and working mums.

“My advice to women is to join a union. As the Equality and Human Rights Commission highlighted recently, pregnant women and new mums are treated better in workplaces that recognise trade unions.”

The TUC says that just 1% of women who are discriminated against in pregnancy take a claim against their employer to tribunal.

The TUC wants the government to:

·    Publish its long-awaited review into the impact of tribunal fees.

·    Extend the time limit, which currently stands at just three months, for new mums to bring a pregnancy discrimination claim.

·    Give a cast-iron guarantee that Brexit will not result in weaker protections for women at work.

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