Government aims for temp compromise

By Ross Wigham

The UK Government will not allow the draft EU directive giving temporary workers the same pay and benefits as permanent staff to become law in its current form.

Minister for Work Nick Brown told Personnel Today that the controversial draft directive – which currently calls for equal rights for temps after six weeks work with the same employer – will be watered down.

Brown said: “I’m a strong supporter of flexible labour markets and that doesn’t have to mean low protection for the vulnerable. Flexibility in the labour market enables more jobs to be created. I believe in the minimum wage and minimum standards but it’s a safety net provision.”

Although the Department of Trade and Industry is handling the Government’s response to the draft directive, Brown explained there had been cross-departmental discussions and the Government is confident that Brussels will compromise.

“The UK experience is different to the continental one and sometimes when these things are being discussed in the EU everyone comes at it from their own national perspective,” he said.

Research by Personnel Today shows that most employers would change their use of temps in their staffing strategies if the controversial draft directive became law.

Over 80 per cent of HR professionals would use fewer temps if it was passed in its current shape, according to News Barometer. The UK currently has one million temps available for work each day.

l See page 7 for interview and page 18 for opinion

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