Kent County Council leader apologises for part-time worker comments

Pam Mills

Paul Carter has faced a call to resign as Leader of Kent County Council for his comments about part-time workers.

The Tunbridge Wells Women’s Equality Party has criticised the Conservative for saying such employees ‘prioritise their families’ rather than their jobs.

Cllr Carter has now apologised for the remarks, which he made in a Personnel Committee meeting last week.

His spoke out after statistics into County Hall productivity showed how 28 per cent of part-time staff ‘exceeded expectations’ for work targets, compared to 42 per cent of full-time staff.

‘Their priorities are different from their jobs because their primary role is to make sure that their family is right and appropriate,’ said Cllr Carter.

‘I’m sure [parents] are amazingly efficient with their time with having to drop your child off at childcare then get back for a certain time.

‘Then they [childcare facilities] ring up and say that your child is not terribly well and they are a bit concerned about it.

‘You are bound to get a diversion away from work, it is human nature.’

Cllr Carter faced a backlash after his views were reported in the media.

Dr Amanda Turner, of the Women’s Equality Party’s Tunbridge Wells branch, said: ‘We are shocked by Cllr Carter’s comments.

‘They are unsupportive and discriminatory. They suggest that paid workers with caring responsibilities, the majority of whom will be women, should be paid less because their commitment and output is less. �

‘Since most part time workers are women this is tantamount to sex discrimination and we would encourage council workers to challenge this as unlawful.�

‘However, how easy is it for workers to feel enabled to challenge discrimination – evidenced by the clear gap between bonuses for full-time and part-time workers – if their Leader holds these views?’

She added: ‘Cllr Carter’s failure to show fair and equal treatment of staff means he is now in an untenable position.

‘No amount of back peddling can excuse what he has said and he must now resign.’

The Leader wrote an email to all staff this week, where he said he wanted to ‘apologise for any offence’. He also used the opportunity to take aim at media outlets who published his comments

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