TUC calls for government backing on Private Members’ Bill for equal employment rights for agency workers

The TUC is calling on the government to support a Private Members’ Bill in Parliament today (Friday) that would give agency staff equal rights at work.

The union body claims the Bill, if enacted into law, would save one million temporary workers from discrimination in the workplace and ill treatment by rogue employment agencies.

Agency workers are not entitled to the same terms and conditions as directly employed workers, including pay, pensions, overtime rates, holiday and sick leave.

MP Paul Farrelly’s Bill was ‘talked out’ by the government during its first hearing in Parliament in March, despite having the support of backbench Labour MPs.

Without government backing, the Bill will be dropped when the current Parliamentary legislative session closes later this month.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “There is nothing wrong with legitimate recruitment agencies providing short-term work for those with short-term availability. But rogue agencies and dodgy practices are now tarnishing the whole sector.

“The Bill is an important opportunity to introduce decent minimum standards for all. We urge the government to support the Bill’s passage through Parliament.”

Trade union general secretaries have also written to prime minister Gordon Brown calling for legislation to be prioritised.

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