A war of words has broken out between the CBI and the GMB union over the controversial issue of agency workers.
The government has put forward the idea of a one-off commission in a bid to come to some agreement between unions and employers on the rights of temps and agency workers.
But after meetings with MPs earlier this week, GMB chief Paul Kenny said the government’s proposal for a commission “was going nowhere”.
He said: “The government’s suggestion of a commission is a sop to the CBI. Leaders of the CBI, when they are not rooting for tax breaks for the multi-millionaire elite and campaigning to keep fraudsters out of the US courts, have a good line in opposing employment rights for working people.
“It is high time the CBI is modernised and leaves behind the rhetoric of the 1980s.”
In response, John Cridland, deputy director-general of the employers’ group, accused Kenny of “ranting”.
He said: “The CBI takes a different view to the GMB on the requirement for new legislation for agency workers, which Mr Kenny spuriously argues is needed to protect vulnerable workers rather than enforcing the existing and sufficient law.
“To accuse the CBI of campaigning to keep fraudsters out of US jails is a blatant example of union ranting and a deliberate distortion of the facts in the absence of serious suggestions about the issue of the day.”
A Private Members Bill boosting the rights of agency workers and supported by more than 140 Labour MPs is making its way through Parliament.