Temporary workers could get full employment rights after just six weeks with a company, as the battle over the Agency Workers Directive hots up.
Employers fear that the British government is losing ground in its attempts to secure a longer qualifying period in the directive.
It is understood that the Portuguese presidency has support for a deal that would see a union-friendly six-week qualifying period accepted in return for the UK retaining its prized opt-out from the Working Time Directive.
The British government is said to be opposed to such a deal, but running out of options.
David Yeandle, deputy director of employment policy at manufacturers’ body the EEF, told Personnel Today that he was “very concerned” about the political climate surrounding the directives.
The EEF is adamant that temps should have to work for 12 months with one company before receiving equal rights to permanent staff. Trade unions, meanwhile, believe that they should have full rights from day one.