The Labour Party has promised to outlaw job ads that include an upper
age limit if it wins the next general election.
The pledge follows the defeat last Friday of a backbench bill to
prohibit age discrimination in recruitment advertising.
Ian McCartney, an opposition employment spokesman, said Labour would
bring in a comprehensive law to make age discrimination in employment
illegal. He attacked the Government for blocking the bill introduced by
the Labour MP, David Winnick.
Winnick told the House of Commons that surveys had found that 40 per
cent of job ads excluded applicants in their forties.
He said the Government’s voluntary approach would not work. ‘Advertising
directors of newspapers and magazines will say that, although it is
rather unfortunate and they do not agree with such discrimination, their
rivals will pick up the lost trade if they take a unilateral decision to
drop the ads,’ Winnick said.
But Cheryl Gillian, a junior education and employment minister and a
former marketing executive, argued that the Government’s research in 20
other countries had found no evidence that anti-ageist laws affect
employers’ attitudes or practices. ‘Discriminatory practices take place
despite legislation,’ she said.