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LOT airlines to ban staff wearing the cross?

PR dla Zagranicy
Peter Gentle 10.02.2012 14:42
Conservative MPs in Poland have complained to the national airline LOT that banning staff wearing the Roman Catholic cross on flights is “discriminatory” and “unconstitutional”.

photo - sxc.hu

From 1 March, LOT flight attendants will not be allowed to display religious symbols at work.

A statement on the airline's web site says that "staff are not allowed to wear jewellery in a conspicuous place which shows a religious symbol."

For opposition Law and Justice (PiS) MPs Anna Sobecka and Jolanta Szczypińska, however, the move is against the Polish Constitution.

"Such actions discriminate against Catholics in the area of public life and threaten fundamental rights guaranteed by art. 31 of the Polish Constitution, which says that everyone is obliged to respect the freedoms and rights of others,” the MPs write in a letter addressed to the management board of LOT Polish airlines.

Former minister of transport and Law and Justice MP Jerzy Polaczek, told the right-wing Gazeta Polska daily: “This scandalous decision […] is an interference in the freedom of religion”.

But spokesman for LOT airlines, Leszek Chorzewski, said that the ban includes all religious symbols, and not just the cross.

“The rules apply to all symbols, including, for example, the Star of David," he said.

He added that the airline carries many thousands of passengers of different faiths each year, and that LOT wants to avoid offence and “unexpected reactions”.

Conservative MPs Anna Sobecka and Jolanta Szczypińska complain, though, that basic religious freedoms are attacked by the move, in the name of “political correctness.”

The MPs point to a similar case in the UK, when British Airways was forced to end a ban on staff wearing religious symbols.

In 2006, British Airways employee Nadia Eweida was sent home from work after she refused to abide by her employer's then dress code, which required employees to keep religious symbols covered.

Eweida was able to return to work in 2007 when BA changed its uniform policy, after the woman received support from the then UK prime minister Tony Blair, who has since converted to Catholicism. (pg)

tags: religion
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