Solidarity Trade Union has joined other Unions in condemning UK Independence Party (Ukip) MEP Godfrey Bloom today after he said that women of a child-bearing age shouldn't be employed because maternity rights are "too draconian."
The Yorkshire & North Lincolnshire region MEP made the comments to Radio Five Live's John Pienaar.
TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said: "Godfrey Bloom should know better than to encourage employers to break the law. Maternity rights are neither draconian nor political correctness gone mad, they are elementary justice for working mothers."
Patrick Harrington of Solidarity commented:
"Employers have social obligations which rightly include making provision for pregnant women. Bloom says that women should be refused jobs because they are of child-bearing age. He favours this whether they intend to have children or not, it seems! Youth unemployment is bad enough but this kind of lunacy would see it soar. That's the real face of UKIP - a really nasty Party that would turn the clock back on rights even further than the ConDem coalition."
What are the 'draconian' rights Bloom is talking about? Employment rights are protected while on Statutory Maternity Leave. This includes the right to: pay rises,accrue holidays and return to work, Statutory Maternity Leave is 52 weeks but you only have to take two (or four if you work in a factory). As Statutory Maternity Pay isn't paid for the whole 52 weeks (only for 33) and drops after the first six weeks only the very well off take long periods of Maternity Leave. None of this is draconian or placing an excessive burden on the employer, in fact the State heavily subsidises the employer. Bloom is taliking rubbish."
"We are the only Union which published leaflets attacking UKIP on their anti-worker agenda. In fact some on the 'left' attacked us for doing so. We know that UKIP are Thatcherites who want to abolish most employment rights. They would take away protection against harassment and discrimination from women (amongst others). Any worker voting for them is like a Turkey wanting an early Christmas. They will ship our jobs to cheap labour economies as they celebrate with their (male) friends in the City of London. That's why we are going to keep exposing UKIP."