Concerns are growing that a key vote in Europe this week will support plans
to give temporary workers the right to the same terms and conditions as
permanent staff from their first day of employment.
The European Parliament’s employment and social affairs committee was
yesterday (Monday) due to debate the amendments to the controversial Agency
Workers Directive before deciding its final content.
The draft directive currently gives agency staff equal rights with permanent
staff after six weeks of employment.
However, the Engineering Employers Federation’s David Yeandle was
pessimistic about the probable outcome of the vote. He said that his
discussions with MEPs had indicated the committee might remove this
qualification period altogether.
The EEF and other employer bodies in the UK had been lobbying to have the
qualification period extended to at least a year.
"There does not seem much chance of the qualification period being
extended. I think it will be reduced or removed completely," he warned.
Yeandle, the EEF’s deputy director of employment policy, was also unhappy
that the committee was unlikely to support the EEF amendment to the directive,
which would exempt highly paid temps with specialist skills.
He said that once the committee had voted on the directive’s content it was
unlikely to be changed when debated by the full European Parliament.
However, amendments could still be made by the Council of Ministers.