McCartney adds personal touch to workplace equality policy

2 Dec 99
He astonished the audience at a conference on workplace bullying by departing from his planned speech to reveal that he suffered a number of violent attacks while he was a trade union representative in a large company he refused to name.

03 December 1999

In a speech to the Andrea Adams Trust, set up in 1997 to address workplace bullying, McCartney said: 'I have not spoken publicly about this before but I suffered physical abuse and was beaten up on more than one occasion. The second time it happened I had to be hospitalised. No-one should have to go through that kind of pain.'

Launching the government's Statement on Equality on November 30, he said the government was determined to crack down on prejudice: 'It is about reshaping our thinking to mainstream equality and diversity issues when we're making policy and when we're putting policies into practice.'

The statement sets out the government's intentions 'to avoid unnecessary and burdensome regulation and will promote, encourage and support progress through non-legislative means'.

McCartney said that as well as appointing a senior adviser to address recruitment and retention problems, the government would introduce a duty on public bodies to promote equal opportunities. 'As soon as Parliamentary time permits, we will give this obligation statutory force,' he said.

However, the Commission for Racial Equality was not impressed. A spokesman said the CRE was concerned that the duty would not be enforceable: 'The problem will not be solved by a duty. There must also be the means and machinery to make people deliver and ensure that others, such as the CRE or individuals, can look at it.'

Although the CRE welcomed the statement and 'the language used', the race watchdog is concerned about the pace of change.

Criticising the lack of commitment to improve and change the situation, the CRE spokesman said: 'All our experience of the past 22 years since the introduction of the Race Relations Act suggests if we carry on with the same sort of legal powers, we will still be doing this job in 20 years.'


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