REC claims new commission could dispel agency worker myths

A new agency workers’ commission could finally dispel some of the negative myths that surround this type of work in the UK, according to the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC).

Reports have suggested that the government is considering setting up a new commission to examine the workplace rights of an estimated 1.4 million temporary and agency workers.

The commission would bring together employers’ groups and the TUC to thrash out how such workers could be given pay and conditions comparable with those of permanent staff.

However, the REC – which represents employment agencies – said the value of any new commission would be open to debate. “The only immediate positive aspect is that it could dispel once and for all some of the negative myths surrounding agency work in this country,” said REC director of external relations Tom Hadley.

“Temporary workers play a key role within all sectors of the economy, and it is essential that their existing rights are promoted and properly enforced.

“However, proposed equal treatment provisions would be difficult to establish and implement in practice, and could impact on the opportunities that temporary and contract work provides to millions of workers each year.”

A spokeswoman for the Department for Business would not confirm or deny whether a new commission would be established. However, she said the government was “committed to finding a solution” to the issue.

A Bill that would boost the workplace rights of temps and agency workers is set for its second reading in Parliament on 22 February.

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