Unions urge MPs to back Bill protecting agency workers’ rights

Trade unions are calling on MPs to support a Private Member’s Bill designed to stop the exploitation of hundreds of thousands of agency workers.

The Bill aims to give agency staff the same rights as full-time and directly employed staff on key issues including basic wages, sick pay and holiday pay.

Unions claim that, if enacted, it would prevent unscrupulous employers and agencies exploiting workers and undercutting the pay and conditions of permanent employees.   

The draft legislation, the Temporary Agency Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Bill, is being brought by Labour MP Paul Farrelly.

It will require the support of 100 MPs if it is to progress beyond its second reading on 2 March. The Bill is being backed by Amicus, the Transport and General Workers Union, the GMB, Unison, the Communication Workers Union, and construction union Ucatt.

In a joint statement, the unions said: “The equal treatment of people at work is a fundamental human right and a basic test of a fair society.

“Apart from the moral imperative, the ability of unscrupulous employers to create a working under-class will prevent the UK economy becoming the dynamic knowledge-based economy we and the government believe is our future.”

According to figures from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, there are about 1.2 million agency workers in the UK.

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