Employers set to dump temps if directive becomes law

More than half of employers would cut temporary work assignments and a tenth
would stop using temps all together if the draft directive on temporary workers
was to be implemented in the UK.

So finds a survey by employers’ body the CBI which is urging the trade union
movement to drop its campaign for the harmonisation of EU employment law,
claiming it would be "damaging for the unemployed".

TUC general secretary John Monks responded that the same claims have been
made for other legislation, such as the national minimum wage, but have never
materialised.

A separate survey of 4,000 temporary workers by the Recruitment and
Employment Federation shows that 70 per cent of them believe temping improves
their chances of getting a permanent job.

The proposed EU temps directive would give agency workers with more than six
weeks’ qualifying service the right to the same pay and conditions as
comparable full-time staff. It would introduce greater administrative burdens
by forcing firms to negotiate temps’ contractual terms themselves rather than
relying on the supplying agency.

"Fifty nine per cent of businesses [surveyed] are unprepared to be
involved in doing this," said CBI deputy director general John Cridland.

The CBI did not say how businesses that would drop temps would fill the
gaps, but only 1 per cent would replace them with permanent staff, suggesting
an increase in workloads and therefore serious implications for health and
safety and employee relations.

Mike Young, HR director for telecoms company Avaya, said the regulations
will strike right at the heart of business strategy and growth.

"If [the decision to take on a contractor] becomes more
problematic," he said, "you might find people simply putting projects
off or finding some internal way of doing them."

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