Thompson remains on sick leave

04:32, Jun 30 2011

The EMA (Northern) says it's uncertain when it will be able to speak with chief executive Alasdair Thompson who's been on sick leave since he sparked a furore over his comments about women's ''monthly sick problems''.

Association president Graham Mountfort says Thompson is ''not very well at all'' but he wouldn't comment on what that sickness entailed and whether it was related to stress over calls for his resignation since his controversial comments about gender pay equity last week.

The board of the country's biggest employers group met this week to discuss what action to take about Thompson, including whether to ask him to resign.

But Mountfort says the next step in the process is to have Thompson and his lawyers respond to the board, something he has so far been unable to do because of his ill health.

Deputy Bruce Goldsworthy is holding the fort as acting chief executive in the interim and Mountfort said the EMA is frustrated at the delays but its hands were tied.

The board has been at pains to distance itself from Thompson's comments, saying the EMA has long been an advocate of equal pay for equal work.

Immediately after Thompson made the comments on morning radio, Mountfort said he would back the chief executive but the ensuing outcry from many of its 5,000 members and others has seen the board since take a harder line.

Thompson has twice apologised for his comments, after originally saying they were taken out of context.