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Lyttle welcomes political support for PMB to remove discrimination in teaching appointments

Alliance MLA Chris Lyttle has welcomed political support for the repeal of the exception of teachers from the Fair Employment and Treatment Order.

Mr Lyttle opened a consultation process on the issue last month and said it was “welcome news” to know other parties now support reform on this issue.

He added: “The Alliance Party is clear that teachers should be included in the fair employment and treatment (NI) order.

“We cannot allow another mandate to pass without considering legislation to repeal this anachronistic exclusion of teachers from fair employment protection.

“The Fair Employment (NI) Act (FEA) outlawed employment discrimination on the grounds of religious belief in Northern Ireland in 1976 and yet the Fair Employment and Treatment (NI) Order (FETO) 1998 continues to permit discrimination on the grounds of religious belief in the recruitment of teachers to this day.

“Almost all workers in Northern Ireland can rely on legislation to protect them from discrimination on grounds of their faith but this protection is denied to teachers and whilst employers in Northern Ireland must register with the Equality Commission and monitor the composition of their workforce if they employ 11 or more employees, this does not apply to the teaching workforce.

“We should not be debating legislation not motions on this issue, which is why the consultation for my Private Members Bill is live and I am hopeful of bringing draft legislation before the end of this mandate.”