date: 4 July 2006
embargo: For immediate release
The theme of equalities is extremely important in the North East as the region faces the difficult challenge of tackling many acute forms of disadvantage and discrimination. We fare poorly in almost every aspect of equality and diversity, with an ageing population, a lower skilled/less qualified workforce, shorter life expectancy, lower economic activity rates, higher pensioner poverty and a higher proportion of disabled people.
All of the factors above have a detrimental effect on the economy of the region and an improvement of the economy is strongly dependant on people not only having a better understanding of equality and diversity issues, but also their practical application and implementation. Equalities are a central theme of the Regional Economic Strategy (RES) - the manifesto for shaping a positive future for the region and the people who live and work here.
Delegates will hear from Barbara Roche, former Minister for Women and Equalities on the development of the Commission for Equalities and Human Rights and Sarah Veale, Head of the National TUC's Equalities and Employment Rights Department on the role that trade unions can play in achieving social justice in the workplace and in local communities. The purpose of the seminar is to strengthen the ability of the Northern TUC, trade unions and their members to work across all strands of the equalities agenda and to make it a priority area for co-ordinated, effective activity.
Kevin Rowan, Northern TUC Regional Secretary commented, 'With proposals for the Commission for Equalities and Human Rights (CEHR) well advanced - a body that will have a significant regional presence - the Northern TUC hopes that, out of the seminar, a regional trade union equalities strategy will emerge, which will identify the key economic and social policy areas where unions can make a genuine difference to helping to make the Northern region a more equal, fair and tolerant place to live and work.'
NOTES TO EDITORS:
The seminar begins at 10.00am and finishes at 12.45am.
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Issued: 4 July, 2006