TUC urges ministers to back European Parliament on temps

The
TUC is urging European ministers to back the European Parliament and give
agency workers the same rights to pay, holidays and maternity rights as their
permanent colleagues from the first day they are placed by an agency.

This
Thursday, the EU Employment and Social Affairs Committee meets in Brussels to
consider the draft Temporary Agency Workers Directive. The TUC wants the
committee to stand firm against pressure from the UK, Irish, Danish and German
governments, who are keen to see longer qualifying periods imposed.

TUC
general secretary elect Brendan Barber said: "Introducing a qualifying
period for equal treatment rights would drive a coach and horses through the
new protections for agency workers.

"Agency
work is by its very nature temporary, and many of the UK’s most vulnerable, low
paid workers would lose out if they had to wait several months before any
rights kicked in. Any delay would provide bad employers with an open invitation
to avoid the new rights by simply employing temps for shorter periods.

"It
is a common misconception that most temps are well-paid office workers, more
commonly agency workers are low paid, low-skilled workers employed in catering,
hotels and factories. The increased use of agency workers – particularly in
schools and care homes – is leading to lower quality public services."

By Quentin Reade

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