REC calls for clarification on Agency Workers Directive

The
industry body for employment agencies, the Recruitment and Employment
Confederation (REC), has called for urgent clarification from the Government on
its position on the proposed Agency Workers Directive.

At
Labour’s National Policy Forum in Warwick last weekend, the Government
indicated it would now support the proposed Agency Workers Directive, which
would increase the rights of temporary workers.

The
REC said it believes that measures within the current draft would have a hugely
negative impact on the economy.

It
is specifically concerned about how equal pay between temps and permanent staff
would work in practice, and at what point during a temporary worker’s job
placement would the equal rights would kick in.

It
said providing temporary workers with the same pay and benefits as permanent
staff (as proposed in the European Directive) would result in huge
administrative difficulties for companies, and would make using temporary
workers far less attractive.

The
REC said the only solution for the directive to be workable is to include a
substantial time period after which equal treatment provisions would apply.

Gareth
Osborne, managing director of the REC, said: "The REC supports many
aspects of the Agency Workers Directive, particularly those that will open up
the employment markets in some European countries.

However,
if the UK Government accepts the directive in its current form, it will be
reneging on a series of pledges it has made to business, seriously damage the
productivity of the UK economy, and make it more difficult for many workers to
get a foot on the first rung of the employment ladder," he said.

By Quentin Reade

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