Sunday, February 04, 2007

Support the rights of agency workers

It is good to see UNISON supporting The Temporary Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Bill. Agency workers need improved legal rights – and clarity about their legal position. According to the TUC on average an agency worker earns about 70p for every pound that a permanent worker earns for doing the same job. That’s what the employers can get away with when the legal status of workers is uncertain.

The problem is that our leadership seem keen to back Gordon Brown to replace Tony Blair – and Gordon is on the record in support of flexible labour forces – the acceptable code for this sort of exploitation. (Mind you he seems not to favour competition for one job in particular – of course I think UNISON would do better to encourage that competition!)

There are a number of legal changes we need – starting with the Trade Union Freedom Bill – and Gordon Brown will offer us none of what we need. Mind you, if he gets to be Prime Minister it looks increasingly likely he will be a temp…

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