Tag Archives: Team GB

BA needs to make a Big Apology?

15 Jan


Today there have been four official judgements made on discrimination over religious beliefs in the workplace. Of those four, just one went in favour of Christianity. And it’s not causing the Twitter storm I’d expected.

I’m even more surprised that Tweeters are taking this opportunity to condemn Eweida, Chaplin, Ladele and McFarlane and every other Christian ‘causing a fuss’ saying they’re the same people ‘trying to ban me from wearing skirts at work’.

Tweeters aside, I think it’s the employers – such as global airline British Airways – involved in today’s court hearings that are going to have to work very hard to prove that their ‘corporate images’ were worth be dragged through the courts. BA especially since 2006. (BA amended its policy in 2007 to accept employees wearing symbols of faith.) I can’t see in any way how crosses, or any other faith symbol, affects the type of service it should be delivering to meet customers’ needs.

It’s sad because after its brilliant ‘To Fly. To Serve‘ campaign and gold-medal attempt during the Olympics, persuading people to stay at home and cheer on Team GB, the BA brand has had to start 2013 on a sour note.

To make matters worse BA has so far not even acknowledged the case with even a single tweet, post on Facebook or a statement on its corporate site. A bit of a mistake when they knew the outcome was going to run globally, surely? And I definitely don’t think a headline of ‘diversity and equality’ on the airline’s jobs website is enough of a message or an apology for not protecting Eweida’s rights.

For companies to be the best, it has to have the best people working for them. And to attract the best people you have to allow them to be themselves.


Volunteering at the Olympics has a silver lining

2 Aug


I walked into the ExCeL this afternoon thinking it would be the same as any other shift – keep the journalists happy and catch some world-class judo action. And it was, more or less, until Team GB judoka Gemma Gibbons scooped silver in the under 78kg judo tournament – our first Olympic medal in the sport for more than a decade. Every step of the way the 10,000 strong crowd were cheering her on, including the Prime Minister David Cameron, Foreign Secretary William Hague and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Prince Edward was also rumoured to have dropped by to show his support.

I was lucky enough to help out in the press conference after the medal ceremonies for the men’s 100kg contest had taken place with a poignant Russian victory, just for the President. As journalists from all around the world clambered into the conference room, we ensured medallists’ names were in the right place and had our microphones ready to hand out to capture all the questions.

Athletes sat on the stage against a London 2012 backdrop. Top tier sponsor Coca Cola also dominated the table with bottles of its classic drink and Powerade taking pride of place.

The main question during the men’s conference was ‘when is the women’s?’ With one athlete by-passing the conference and another taken to the medical zone for urgent attention, the top table was lacking. But, it wasn’t long before: American Kayla Harrison (gold), Brit Gemma Gibbons (silver), French Audrey Tcheumeo and Brazilian Mayra Aguiar (both bronze) took their places.

Journalists from Press Association, Evening Standard and the Daily Mail all fired questions at Gemma which emphasised London 2012’s message: the desire to inspire the next generation and raise the profile of judo.

It was a fantastic experience to be part of this event – a conference honouring the most successful Team GB judoka this week. Bring on tomorrow.


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