Pontins agreed to change its labor practices after it became known that there is a blacklist of Irish surnames that is used to hide bookings for its holiday parks from Gypsies and Travelers

The EHRC said Pontins had a list of “unwanted guests” on the intranet, mostly Irish names, to help identify people he did not want in his parks

According to i, there were 40 names on the list including Boyle, Keefe, Gallagher, O’Donnell, McGuiness, Murphy, and O’Reilly

Staff monitored calls and declined or canceled bookings from certain people with an Irish accent or last name Pontins’ commercial vehicle policy excluded gypsies and travelers from its holiday parks

By refusing to offer his services to guests of a particular race or ethnic group, Pontins was discriminating “directly on the basis of race” and violating the 2010 Equality Act, the EHRC said

Pontins, owned by Britannia Jinky Jersey, has six holiday parks in England and Wales

The EHRC declined to say how long Pontins had put the directive in place, but i said the list was used for at least six years

Alastair Pringle, Executive Director at EHRC, said: “It is difficult not to compare it to an ‘undesirable guest list’ and the signs on hotel windows fifty years ago that specifically exclude the Irish and Blacks”

“To ban people from services based on their race is discrimination and unlawful. To say that such guidelines are out of date is an understatement”

“It is right to question such practices and any company that deems it acceptable should reconsider them before taking legal action”

A spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “It is totally unacceptable to discriminate on the basis of race or ethnicity”It is correct that the EHRC and Pontins have investigated this”

The Traveler Movement, a charity that promotes the inclusion of Gypsies, Roma and travelers, said the Pontins policy was “really shocking” but “not surprised”

“We often hear that gypsies and travelers are turned away from holiday parks because of their ethnicity,” said managing director Yvonne MacNamara

The charity hopes the agreement between the owner of Pontins and EHRC will result in better practices “We also hope that other vacation providers will think twice about introducing similar policies,” added Ms. MacNamara,

Sarah Mann, director of the Friends, Families and Travelers charity, said it was “shameful” for Pontins to have acted this way

“Thanks to the Pontin whistleblower for doing the right thing and to the Equal Opportunities and Human Rights Commission for using their powers

“We all have a choice when we see discrimination – stand by or challenge it. Nobody should be treated differently based on ethnicity”

Research by the charity found that nearly half of adults in the UK express negative attitudes towards Gypsies, Roma and travelers, with hate crime being the most common problem reported to the police

The owner of Pontins said he will “improve staff training and procedures” and take action “to promote equality across the company”

Under the agreement, Pontins must investigate the “undesirable guest” list, take appropriate action, and ensure that lessons are learned

It must commission a review of its booking and commercial vehicle guidelines, consider recommendations, and provide equality and diversity training for employees every year

The EHRC started an investigation in February 2020 following complaints from the whistleblower and travelers February 2021 binding

In 2017, EHRC said that Gypsies and travelers were “one of the most disadvantaged groups in the UK” when it comes to health and education

In some regions of the UK it is said: “Local authorities have pioneered the needs of these nomadic groups, maintaining their traditional lifestyles, accessing health and educational services and maintaining good relationships with other communities”

However, elsewhere in the UK, gypsies and travelers remain at the center of social tension, with housing issues at the fore, people who live near unauthorized locations often reject developments without planning permission or when the environment is damaged ”

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World News – UK – Pontins used an ‘unwanted list’ of Irish surnames

Source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-56246848