The European Commission’s draft Agency Workers Directive will misfire and
damage employment prospects of the temporary workers it is designed to help,
according to research.
The directive would give temporary workers rights to equal pay and
conditions as permanent staff once they have worked for an employer for longer
than six weeks, if introduced in its current form.
The survey of 4,000 temporary workers by the Recruitment and Employment
Confederation (REC) shows that 70 per cent of agency workers believe temping
improves their ability to gain a permanent job.
The REC claims around 50 per cent of agency staff accept an offer of
permanent employment within 12 months from an organisation they have been
assigned to as a temp.
Tim Nicholson, chief executive of the REC, believes the temp to perm route
would become less attractive to employers under the agency workers’ directive,
because employing temporary staff would be more expensive and complex.
"The directive is supposed to make this type of work more attractive to
workers and employers, but instead jobs will be lost because of extra costs and
inflexibility, and great damage will be done for no good reason," he said.
The survey finds that 42 per cent of agency staff already believe they earn
the same or more than comparable permanent employees, compared to 37 per cent
who think they are paid less.
"The Commission pays lip service to the social and economic benefits of
temporary work, but these proposed regulations are clearly founded on a misconception
that agency workers are stuck at the bottom end of the labour market in poor
quality, low paid jobs," said Nicholson.
By Ben Willmott