The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) has urged the government to resist union calls for new laws to protect agency workers.
Last week, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) launched a consultation on new measures to protect vulnerable agency staff and make them aware of their rights. It also plans to reduce the administrative burden on recruitment agencies.
Marcia Roberts, chief executive of the REC, said: “Where vulnerable workers are exploited, there is a need to focus on the enforcement of the current regulations, rather than inventing new laws. There is no real need to introduce further detailed regulation of the industry as the trade unions are currently trying to do through their Private Member’s Bill on temporary agency workers.”
But Tony Woodley, general secretary of the Transport and General Workers’ Union said agency workers needed protection, not simply advice on how to deal with abusive employers.
“What has been announced falls far, far short of this, and will not significantly assist workers who endure abuse or under-cutting because the law allows agency workers to be discriminated against on essential matters like pay, sick pay and overtime,” he said.
The Office for National Statistics estimates there are 1.8 million agency workers in the UK.