The Temporary Agency Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Bill, brought by Paul Farrelly, Labour MP for Newcastle-under-Lyme, and supported by a coalition of trade unions, would give agency workers the same rights to pay, sick leave and overtime as directly employed staff.
More than 100 MPs attended the Bill’s second reading in the House of Commons, but time ran out for debate and vote. The debate is not now due to resume until 19 October.
Unions believe the Bill will meet the government’s commitment to ensure protection for temps. As part of the 2004 Warwick Agreement with unions, Labour pledged to introduce domestic legislation to protect these workers should the EU fail to reach a consensus.
The Bill’s backers have vowed to fight on and criticised the government for not giving its support.
In a joint statement, the leaders of the Amicus, GMB, Transport and General Workers, Unison and Communication Workers’ unions, said: “Unfortunately the government has chosen not to support this Bill, and for this reason it is not likely to proceed, but they need be aware of the extent of the problem, and the devastating impact it is having on many people’s lives and those of their families.
“This is not the end of our campaign, it can only be the beginning.”