This week’s letters

Alert the board to directive threat

I was encouraged that the EC’s draft directive on agency workers made the
front page in Personnel Today (News, 26 March).

This is an issue that could have significant implications for the health of
individual businesses and national economies right across Europe, and therefore
deserves considerable publicity.

There is opposition to this draft both within the EC directorates and from a
number of member states. This provides the real possibility of changes before
this directive is approved at EU level. There is then the usual lead-time for
the directive to be enacted in the UK through national legislation and then
room at that stage for some flexibility in interpretation.

Manpower is clear about the value we add to our clients’ businesses and
temporaries’ working lives. Agency workers rights do need to be underwritten,
but making this a user company responsibility serves neither improved
competitiveness nor better labour market access.

We are concerned that your front page seemed to suggest that HR professionals
should be defensively realigning their flexible staffing strategies rather than
alerting their boards to the threat and mounting a determined campaign to
achieve a more realistic directive.

The case business must make in the strongest terms is about positive
economic and social progress, not a complaint about red tape and increased
costs. I look to Personnel Today to provide a lead to achieve this goal.

Keith Faulkner
Director, Manpower

More benefits is not unreasonable

More benefits for temporary staff is not unreasonable. At the moment,
temporary staff do not get bank holiday pay.

With this year’s public holidays, I will suffer a 20 per cent loss of income
during those weeks. Unfortunately, my bills don’t fall by a similar amount.

How fair is this?

Colin Rodden
Via e-mail

Something for nothing is not on

In his thought-provoking article "Can the UK break its long-hours
habit?" (Research viewpoint, 2 April), Stephen Overell includes a quote
from Fidelity Investments that it expects "all employees to work at least
some hours with-out pay".

It amazes me that this company (apparently only one example among a large
number of organisations) seems to believe it has a right to expect this – on
what grounds?

I’m sure Fidelity would object if its employees decided to cut short their
hours but still expected the same pay – so why does the employer demand
something for nothing?

An employment contract should work both ways.

Perhaps Fidelity Investments could enlighten me?

Tim Wells
Senior analyst, Nationwide Building Society

Unfair criticism for general advice

Les Simpson’s letter is both ill informed and inaccurate (Letters, 2 April).

My advice in the Career Coach column (Careerwise, 12 March) advises the
enquirer to investigate undertaking the CIPD qualification, not the
professional assessment programme, as Simpson suggests.

In response to his criticism of my advice, it is only possible to give
general advice to enquirers on possible options in the space available.

Les Simpson finds it easy to criticise in his letter, but offers no
constructive alternatives to the advice given.

Peter Sell
Joint managing director, DMS Consultancy

Government is hardly shrinking

Where on earth does Stephen Overell get the idea that the Government is
shrinking (Research viewpoint, 19 March)?

Last year, we again approved a record number of regulations – 4,984 to be
exact. That is a new set of regulations every 105 minutes.

Government shrinking? It’s exploding.

John Blundell
General director, The Institute of Economic Affairs

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