THE 1984 MacBride Principles are nine equal opportunity guidelines for US firms in Northern Ireland. Companies are called on to increase job opportunities for under represented religious groups, ban political and religious symbols from the workplace and ensure safe travel for employees.

The principles involve

1. Increasing the representation of individuals from under represented religious groups in the workforce, including managerial, supervisory, administrative, clerical and technical jobs.

2. Security for minority employees at the workplace and while travelling to and from work.

3. The banning of provocative religious or political emblems from the workplace.

4. All job openings should be publicly advertised and special recruitment efforts made to attract applicants from under represented religious groups.

5. Lay offs, recalls and termination procedures should not, in practice, favour particular religious groupings.

6. The abolition of job reservations, apprenticeship restrictions and differential employment criteria, which discriminate on religion/ethnic grounds.

7. The development of training programmes to prepare substantial numbers of minority employees for skilled jobs, including the expansion of existing programmes and the creation of programmes to train, upgrade and improve the skills of minority employees.

8. The establishment of procedures to assess, identify and recruit minority employees with potential for advancement.

9. Appointment of a senior management staff member to oversee the company's efforts and the setting up of the timetable to carry out the principles.