One of the UK’s largest camp site operators was fired on Tuesday for setting up a secret blacklist aimed at blocking access to Irish travelers. Five camps in England and Pontins operating on the site are under investigation after a whistleblower in the company leaked the list to the Equality Commission and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) in February 2020.
A list of “unwanted” holidaymakers with common surnames in the Irish traveler community is circulating internally in Pontins, with booking agents being instructed: “We do not need these customers”.
Alastair Pringle, executive director of EHRC, said that when some landlords in the UK rented rooms in the 1950s, they were warned “no blacks, no Irish”. “It is common news that such policies are outdated,” Pringle said in a statement. “Any business that thinks this is acceptable should think twice before filing a lawsuit against themselves,” he added.
A spokesman for the British government supported the EHRC’s action, saying the allegations against Pontins were not entirely acceptable. “No one in the UK should be discriminated against on the basis of race or ethnicity,” he added.
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The EHRC announced on Tuesday that it has signed a legal agreement with Pontins’ parent company, Britannia Ginkgo Jersey Limited. The company was forced to change the booking system and appoint diversity managers. “Britannia Ginkgo Jersey Ltd. has agreed to work with the EHRC Commission to further enhance staff training and procedures to enhance equality in all of its operations,” a Pontins spokesman said.