Sunday, 13 July 2008

Temporary & Agency Workers

At the UNITE EC meeting last week, there was more discussion about the deal done between the unions, CBI and UK government to give more protection for agency and temporary workers.

Though the deal is far less than we'd want (protection only applies after 12 weeks on a job), we have finally applied enough pressure to stop the UK government blocking the EU directive altogether. We are told that about 70-75% of agency and temporary workers would benefit despite the 12-week rule, as well as there being a substantial benefit to the rest of the workforce whose bargaining position is undermined by the exploitation of temporary & agency workers with no rights.

Derek Simpson was adamant that there is no truth in the stories in the press (put out by the CBI) that the unions have agreed to accept a weakening of the Working Time Directive in exchange for progress on the Temporary & Agency Workers Directive.

Derek said he hadn't actually seen the deal itself, and nobody else at the EC meeting seemed to have done so, which seemed really odd. There's a report about it on the web site of the United Campaign to Repeal the Anti Union Laws, but the link to the agreement itself is broken. I'm pleased to say I've found a copy here.

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