More than 300,000 temporary workers in the UK will earn an average of £1,000
extra a year if the EU directive on agency workers is passed as the draft
stands, according to government figures.
The directive gives temps who have worked for the same employer for six
weeks or more equal pay and employment rights as their permanent counterparts.
The Department of Trade & Industry’s "regulatory impact
assessment" of the directive suggests that more than half of Britain’s
estimated 600,000 temporary workers would be paid more, boosting total temps’
earnings by about £366m a year.
Most of the cost will be borne by temps’ employers, with the remainder
transferring to temp agencies.
It is feared the extra burden in cost and time will destroy jobs and harm
David Yeandle, deputy director of employment policy at the Engineering
Employers’ Federation, said the directive "could undermine the flexibility
of the labour market, which has been one of the great strengths of the British
economy in recent years".
Last year a group of companies, wrote to the Prime Minister, arguing that
the directive would place UK companies at a severe competitive disadvantage.