The TUC has called on the government to improve conditions for temporary workers and support European law.
Temporary staff in the UK often earn less than their permanent colleagues, have less annual holiday entitlement and no sick pay, according to a TUC report published today.
The call comes ahead of National Temporary Workers Week (5-9 June).
The union is urging Alistair Darling, the new trade and industry secretary, to introduce better domestic legislation for temporary workers in the UK.
Agency workers earned less than direct employees in almost nine out of 10 (87%) of the 85 workplaces, employing more than 100,000 staff and 15,000 temps, surveyed by the TUC.
Brendan Barber, general secretary for the TUC called on the government to resurrect efforts to push the Agency Workers Directive through the European parliament.
“Earning less, not allowed to pay into a pension scheme or to benefit from an employer’s contributions, given less holiday, little if any access to training, and no sick pay, is no way for the UK to be treating a significant proportion of its workforce,” Barber said.
However, Gareth Osborne, managing director at the Recruitment and Employment Confederation said the TUC was “living in the dark ages”.
“It is an outdated fallacy that temps are low skilled and underpaid,” he said. “They are protected and entitled to benefits and are already covered by substantial domestic regulations. The fact is that many choose to temp to suit their lifestyle, develop new skills or supplement their permanent income.”