Friday 20 February 2015

No fly zone for the Rainbow flag

A few weeks ago Carmarthenshire Council entered the rankings of Stonewall UK's top 100 employers, at joint 94th. This recognition of good workplace equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans employees is of course something to be proud of and naturally, the obligatory press releases went out and there was even a mention in the staff newsletter.

February is also LGBT month and numerous organisations fly the Rainbow flag to celebrate the diversity of their employees and to encourage workplace equality.

You would think that as a celebration of this recent achievement, County Hall would do the same. After all, the UK government, the Welsh Assembly, Dyfed Powys Police and numerous councils, including Cardiff, Merthyr and Swansea are happily flying the Rainbow flag.

The Carmarthenshire Diversity Improvement Group (the DIG) was formed by the council itself following equalities legislation. The Group has now become a Network (the DIN) and their work has helped the council reach the top 100.

They have been asking for some time for County Hall to fly the Rainbow flag. So far, they've refused.

The DIN has done a little research and found that the council actually procured a flag with the intention of putting it up, but oddly it refuses to do so. It clearly remains in a drawer somewhere.

After initial enquiries the DIN were told that as they (the council) have sooo many requests to fly flags, they don't fly any. Presumably the UK government and the Welsh Assembly don't have that problem...

The DIN then made a direct appeal to the chief executive, but he has refused and this time offered no further explanation. They hope he will change his mind.

Incidentally, the council flew three flags yesterday in honour of the Duke of York's birthday!

The DIN website carries a couple of articles relating to this issue here and here and includes this statement below;

"The flying of a Rainbow flag really is the simplest and easiest of gestures and it gives a clear and visible statement to staff and the wider community that we are an organisation that’s committed to equality and diversity. 
Many government and public service organisations are proud to fly the flag in support of local LGBT+ events / achievements we are unable to see why Carmarthenshire CC, as a Stonewall Top 100 Employer, can’t embrace the opportunity to celebrate this achievement. 
The flag would symbolize the authority’s endeavour to improve the workplace for LGBT+ staff and would serve to encourage more members of staff who still don’t feel able to be themselves at work to be more themselves at work. 
We don’t think that you can get any greater impact from such minimal effort...

....Carmarthenshire finds itself in the strange position of being in the Stonewall Top 100 Employers but keeping it’s Rainbow flag kept locked in a County Hall closet."


Mrs Angry said...

Dear me.

Why does the Chief Executive decide which flags are flown, when surely this should be the decision of the council leader?

caebrwyn said...

I would have thought so too Mrs A, but it appears not.

Anonymous said...

It sounds like the sort of decision that an autocratic homophobic extreme god botherer might make. Is there anybody like that in a position of power at Carmarthenshire Council?

Anonymous said...

The decision seems odd as they have the flag, surely the Council leader decides not the C.E.O.

I hope the lack of the flag is not to do with certain people's religious associations, it does give pause for thought.

Anonymous said...

Surely a flag for "THE CRAPPIEST COUNCIL IN THE COUNTRY" should be flown from ALL coucil buildings, far and wide...

Anonymous said...

Where do the flags end? I am all for this cause but if the verdict is no, then no it is.

I haven't read about this anywhere else though?