This week's letters
MEP responds to reader plea over temps directive
In our 1 October issue, we published our joint research with Manpower which showed that both businesses and temps in the UK will be damaged by the draft EU Agency Workers Directive. Personnel Today asked its readers to e-mail the MEP directly responsible for the directive, Ieke van den Burg, urging her to change the six-week qualification period for temps gaining equal pay and benefits with permanent staff. Here is her response to a letter from reader Geraldine Dawson:
The main concern in your letter is that I, as rapporteur for the European Parliament, would not take into account the specific situation in the UK. Let me make clear that this is not the case. I had and have extensive contact with the British Government, trade unions, employer organisations and temporary work and recruitment agencies.
As a member of the European Parliament, it is my task to take into account positions of all the different member states. I tried to find a balanced position. I certainly did not try to impose a one-size fits all approach on the member states.
Not only is it important to find a balance for different member states, it is also vital to find the right balance between the flexibility and protection of temporary agency workers.
It is my conviction that temporary agency work can make a positive contribution to making the European labour market more efficient and flexible, and help young people, women and the unemployed to enter the labour market.
But I am firmly committed to the demand that basic employment and working conditions should always be respected. A user company should not have financial advantages from hiring a temp (i.e. cheap labour), compared to directly employing a worker - the advantage of temporary work should be its flexibility.
I will do my utmost to contribute to the creation of an effective directive that will provide a sound basis for using temporary agency work all over Europe. And one which will provide basic protection to temporary workers, taking into account the effects on standards in the user companies and sectors as well.
Ieke van den Burg
Rapporteur for the Agency Workers Directive, MEP
Strike action must be a right for firefighters
I was pleased to read that many of the figures quoted in your debate 'Could legislation sto