The Pontin blacklist

By | Category: Travel rumblings

The i website was the first to reveal the fact that Pontins had operated a blacklist of companies and that, after being investigated by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC)that list had been dropped and people would be re-trained.

Stay safe at Pontins – unless you one of 40 surnames in which case don’t stay. That has now been changed by action from the EHRC.

The list was directed at Gypsy, Roma and Traveller families and operated by declining potential bookers that had one of forty different surnames.

The company claimed that people could be refused bookings according to a clause in the Terms & Conditions. Patently that clause was unenforceable in this context.

There has been a lot of publicity in the first 24 hours since the i broke the story. In the second twenty-four period the story was dead.

It doesn’t deserve to be because it raises a couple of questions.

The first is what reasons did the company have for wanting to block these people in the first place? The second is why these surnames and not others; and the final one is a much more wide-ranging question of whether blacklists should operate and if so under what circumstances.

Apparently the EHRC investigation took about a year after a whistle-blower informed it about what Pontins was doing. During that time was the list suspended? A spokesperson of the company owning Pontins and which the EHRC quotes on its website doesn’t apologise, she just says that it has agreed to “…further promote equality.”

The press notice issued by the EHRC also specifically says that Irish surnames were targeted. But the forty surnames don’t include a lot of common Irish surnames. Do readers conclude that these are Irish surnames relating to Gypsy, Romany and Travellers? If yes, then Pontins must have some information about what the people bearing these names did in order to warrant being placed on a blacklist. Or did the company just randomly say we don’t like these people and won’t let them in?

Pontins appears to have escaped punishment unless it fails to comply with its legally agreed moves by February 22nd 2022.

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