UK’s employers losing argument over temps

The
European Parliament has passed the controversial draft Agency Workers Directive
without any of the key amendments favoured by UK employers.

The
draft, which intends to force companies to offer temps the same pay and
conditions as permanent staff from day one of employment, has been criticised
as too prescriptive and damaging to competitiveness.

The
Parliament did vote to reintroduce the clause that allows temps comparable pay
after six weeks of employment, although this would only apply for a
transitional five-year period.

Comparable
conditions, however, would still apply from day one of work under the ruling
from the plenary session in Strasbourg.

David
Yeandle, deputy director at the Engineering Employers’ Federation (EEF), also
criticised the lack of exemptions for highly skilled agency workers, often
essential in certain sectors.

In
a letter to Prime Minister Tony Blair, the EEF urges the Government to lobby
for changes before the directive goes before the EU council of ministers next
month.

Yeandle
said: "I am extremely disappointed, but at least we have something to work
on after the six-week clause on pay was re-introduced.

"Clearly,
now there is a huge responsibility on the Council of Ministers to take a
constructive view on the situation. We’ve written to the Government because we
are so concerned about the flexibility of the UK workforce," he said.

The
Recruitment and Employment Confederation also condemned the decision and said
comparable pay and conditions should only apply to temporary staff after 12
months of employment.

In
a separate vote, the Parliament decided that ‘temp to perm fees’ – the cost
agencies incur recruiting temps – should be reimbursed when temps are taken on
permanently.

By
Ross Wigham

www.rec.uk.com

Key
points


Temps would get comparable pay after six weeks (from day one after five years)


Comparable conditions for temps would apply from day one


No exemption for specialist, high-skill temps


The directive will now go before the EU Council of Ministers in December

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