Gregory Campbell’s column in the News Letter (December 22) draws on the data and analyses produced annually by the Equality Commission on patterns and trends within the monitored workforce in Northern Ireland.
As he correctly states, in the 26th Annual Monitoring Report, the most recently published, the commission reported that members of the Protestant community continued to comprise the majority of those working in monitored employment, with the proportion of those from the Roman Catholic community continuing to increase.
Data sources such as the annual Labour Force Survey and the ten-yearly Census of Population show a change in the composition of those available for work in Northern Ireland – an increase in those available from a Roman Catholic community background and a decrease in those from a Protestant community background.
Accordingly, the commission notes in its annual monitoring report that the overall composition of the monitored workforce is broadly reflective of the estimated composition of economically active people of working age in Northern Ireland.
These are analyses of aggregate data and do not allow inferences to be drawn on whether or not individual workplaces offer “fair participation”.
Fair employment legislation requires employers to monitor the composition of their workforces and to take action to ensure fair participation. Rather than “inaction” as Mr Campbell states, the commission devotes considerable resources to providing guidance and support to all employers and works with them to ensure that they are aware of, and comply with, their responsibilities under the legislation.
Dr Michael Wardlow, Chief Commissioner, The Equality Commission for Northern Ireland