Alderney has no employment or discrimination laws (outside of the Human Rights (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Law 2000 which only applies to public authorities) and that lack is fossilising us in the face of progress. Proposals to introduce employment legislation should be welcomed, contrary to Mr Hill’s opinion piece published recently.
Within the Bailiwick, Alderney residents are second class citizens with less legal rights than our Guernsey counterparts. One reason that Alderney has missed out on discrimination laws (such as the Sex Discrimination (Employment) (Guernsey) Ordinance 2005) and is missing out on their proposed expansion is because of our archaic legal landscape. Alderney is missing out on needed protections because previous States have rejected opportunities to implement such laws in line with Guernsey and in doing so have worked against the best interests of working residents.
The introduction of employment legislation is not a ‘leap into a commercial abyss’ as Mr Hill stated, it is standard practice in developed countries including our own Bailiwick. Employment laws do not kill flexibility, as Mr Hill claimed, and the entrepreneurial spirit is not dependent on the ability to exploit workers. It will still be perfectly possible to hire gig workers as is the practice elsewhere. Mr Hill’s claim that youth unemployment will rocket following the introduction of employment laws is based on his misplaced comparison between Alderney and the EU and backed up with no evidence.
In 2018-19, I experienced sexual harassment at work in the UK. Because of employment and discrimination laws, I was able to pursue a claim to the Employment tribunal and vindicate my rights. According to Mr Hill, as a ‘previously litigious applicant’ I am unemployable and will spend my life living on unemployment benefits and the pay-out (he has wholly misjudged the size of settlements of this type). My very existence proves him wrong.
Workplace discrimination and harassment happens in Alderney (I cannot give names for confidentiality reasons) yet there is no resolution or solution for the affected. Because previous States did not take the opportunity to implement employment laws when Guernsey did, we are now missing out on needed discrimination legislation. Again, Alderney falls behind and fails its own residents.
Mr Hill accused Alderney workers of drunkenness and self-entitlement.
This is an unfounded attack and sounds like an extract from Brittania Unchained. We should take note of the polarisation of UK and US politics and avoid demonising a sector of our population, especially one that pays taxes here.
I counter Mr Hill’s fragile link between employment laws, youth unemployment and depopulation with an alternative view. Why would working families move to an island where they will lose rights? Where they can be fired for the colour of their skin, their gender or sexuality? Where their children can be sexually harassed and exploited at work with no recourse?
Alderney girl and award-winning law student at the University of Essex
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