Employment relations minister Pat McFadden’s decision not to vote on whether the agency workers’ Bill should be scrapped has been branded an “embarrassment” by employers.
The controversial Temporary and Agency Workers (Equal Treatment) Bill, which would allow agency workers the same rights as permanent staff, entered the committee stage last Wednesday. Within hours, MPs had to vote on whether it should continue to progress through the House of Commons.
McFadden spoke out against the Bill during the committee hearing, saying: “It is not the best vehicle for achieving its supporters’ aims.”
However, when it came to the vote, the minister and his parliamentary private secretary Jim McGovern abstained, allowing it to remain in Parliament by a majority of just one vote.
David Yeandle, deputy director of employment policy at manufacturers’ body EEF, said: “I suspect the minister did not, at this particular delicate political moment, want to be upsetting back-bench Labour MPs even more.
“He may not have realised how tight the vote would be – that’s where the embarrassment is.”
The Bill will now continue through committee stage where MPs will add amendments.