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Catholic Union attends first Faith at Work Summit

The Catholic Union attended the UK’s first Faith at Work Summit on Monday 4 March.

The event was a business-led discussion about promoting freedom of religion and belief at work. The Catholic Union was one of the partners for the event and was involved in the planning stage from summer last year.

Over 100 business leaders, policy experts, and faith representatives gathered in the Heron Tower in the London for the event, which was jointly organised between consultancy firm, Baringa, and software experts, Salesforce.

Last year, a Catholic Union survey found that one in three people had experienced disadvantage at work because of their faith, and almost half of responders found it difficult to talk about their faith in the workplace.

Catholic Union Deputy Director, James Somerville-Meikle, attended the event which also saw the results announced from the first UK edition of the corporate Religious Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (REDI) Index and Monitor, which tracks corporate attitudes to freedom of religion or belief.

Cabinet Office Minister, John Glen MP, presented prizes to Baringa and Rolls-Royce who were announced as the two most faith and belief friendly workplaces in the UK.

In his remarks, Mr Glen, reflected on his own life as a Christian in politics and business. “I struggle to see enough of faith in the workplace” he said, and commented that “our economy and society flourish when we are at one with God and at peace.”

He also rejected claims that faith was a purely personal matter. “You cannot go to church on a Sunday, then turn up at work on a Monday and be a completely different human being.”

Catholic Union Deputy Director, James Somerville-Meikle, comments: “We know that for too many Catholics going to work is made harder on account of their faith. We see that particularly in areas such as healthcare and education. Despite legal protections for freedom of religion and belief, it has not always been taken seriously by employers. We have worked hard alongside many other groups and individuals to raise the profile of these concerns. The idea of there being a major summit in London on this issue even just a few years ago would have been hard to imagine. It shows the progress that has been made, but clearly there is a lot more to do as the evidence shows that these problems persist. The Catholic Union will continue to champion religious freedom at work until we see real progress.”