The European Parliament has passed the controversial draft Agency Workers Directive without any of the key amendments favoured by UK employers.
The draft, which intends to force companies to offer temps the same pay and conditions as permanent staff from day one of employment, has been criticised as too prescriptive and damaging to competitiveness.
The Parliament did vote to reintroduce the clause that allows temps comparable pay after six weeks of employment, although this would only apply for a transitional five-year period.
Comparable conditions, however, would still apply from day one of work under the ruling from the plenary session in Strasbourg.
David Yeandle, deputy director at the Engineering Employers' Federation (EEF), also criticised the lack of exemptions for highly skilled agency workers, often essential in certain sectors.
In a letter to Prime Minister Tony Blair, the EEF urges the Government to lobby for changes before the directive goes before the EU council of ministers next month.
Yeandle said: "I am extremely disappointed, but at least we have something to work on after the six-week clause on pay was re-introduced.
"Clearly, now there is a huge responsibility on the Council of Ministers to take a constructive view on the situation. We've written to the Government because we are so concerned about the flexibility of the UK workforce," he said.
The Recruitment and Employment Confederation also condemned the decision and said comparable pay and conditions should only apply to temporary staff after 12 months of employment.
In a separate vote, the Parliament decided that 'temp to perm fees' - the cost agencies incur recruiting temps - should be reimbursed when temps are taken on permanently.
By Ross Wigham
- Temps would get comparable pay after six weeks (from day one after five years)
- Comparable conditions for temps would apply from day one
- No exemption for specialist, high-skill temps
- The directive