The EEF’s letter to the Prime Minister

am writing on behalf of the many UK companies which stand to be placed at a
severe competitive disadvantage if the EU Directive on Temporary Agency Workers
goes through unamended.

at the EEF have been working closely with the DTI, other trade bodies, and in
particular the companies that have put their names to this letter, to try to
achieve an acceptable position. However, I believe we have reached a point
where your personal intervention is essential if we are to avoid a result which
will severely damage labour market flexibility.

we are concerned about the impact on all agency workers, we are particularly
worried about the effect on higher skilled engineers and technicians. Typically
these workers tend to be highly paid and choose to work on temporary contracts
to suit their lifestyle. Their flexible pattern of working fits well with the
need in certain high technology companies to meet business fluctuations and yet
retain a significant core of highly skilled employees. Removal of this flexibility
through the restrictive provisions currently proposed would have a devastating
impact on many of the UK’s most technologically advanced engineering and
manufacturing companies. These businesses rely on the ability to manage highly
skilled resources in order to meet changes in demand and project timeframes. We
believe that inevitably jobs would be lost abroad.

know you share our concerns with this Directive, and we have been working
constructively with the DTI to engage MEPs, Commission officials and our
counterparts in other EU Member States.

now need your help to bring our concerns to your fellow EU leaders. In
particular, we urge you to use the opportunities of the forthcoming Council of
Ministers and Copenhagen Summit to press our case.

believe the following points must be addressed:

there should be an exemption period of at least 12 months – we believe the
derogation of six weeks which was in the Commission’s original proposal is
totally inadequate;

member States should have the option to exempt from the Directive’s provisions,
higher skilled technical and professional agency workers;

the suggested comparator – between user company staff and agency worker – is
flawed and opens up a whole host of issues over privacy and additional red tape.
The comparator should be another agency worker from the same agency. At the
very least, the basis of comparison should be left to individual Member States
to decide;

pay should not be included in the comparison, but if it is, it should
specifically exclude occupational pensions.

companies, particularly manufacturers and technology-based businesses, have
deep concerns about the impact this Directive will have if taken as currently
proposed. On behalf of the companies listed below, and others across the
membership of the EEF and other trade associations, I urge you to encourage
your colleagues in the Council of Ministers and counterparts across the EU to
recognise the importance of this matter, and to take steps to limit the
potentially damaging impact of the Directive on European labour market
flexibility and competitiveness.

Director General

supporting this letter:


CMG Logica
M.W. Kellogg Limited
Perkins Engines
Siemens Plc
Smiths Group Plc



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