Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Section 188 and agency workers

As a child I always enjoyed "The Cat in the Hat Comes Back" in which Dr Seuss's cat draws upon assistance from increasingly smaller - yet more powerful - cats, named sequentially for letters of the alphabet, who emerge from his hat.

Today I am mostly liking little cats (g), (h) and (i), all added to subsection 4 of Section 188 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 by virtue of the Agency Workers Regulations 2010 (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2010/93/schedule/2/paragraph/4/made).

This important new law requires employers making 20 or more redundancies to notify trade unions about all the agency workers they have. For those of you whose employers have failed to supply such information hitherto this is an important opportunity.

At least in local government, Councillors and corporate senior managers are likely to be sympathetic to reducing reliance on agency workers - but will need our pressure if they are to do anything.

Bearing in mind that subsection 4 of Section 188 is a series of requirements to provide information "for the purposes of consultation" and that - in accordance with subsection 2 - such consultation must be about, amongst other things, about how to avoid or reduce redundancies and must be undertaken "with a view to reaching agreement" with union representatives, the clear meaning of the new subsections of subsection 4 of Section 188 is that the employer should not merely provide information about the current use of agency workers when notifying redundancies but should also be prepared, proactively, to use this information to avoid or reduce redundancies.

I hope that we will encourage and support our branches to use this new law as another tool with which to resist redundancies.

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

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