Page last updated at 15:54 GMT, Tuesday, 20 May 2008 16:54 UK

Reaction to agency worker deal

Agency workers will get the same employment rights as permanent staff after 12 weeks service under new proposals agreed by ministers and unions.

Here is some of the reaction to the agreement.

DAVE PRENTIS, UNISON

"This is a great step forward to protect the majority of vulnerable agency workers. The abuse of temporary agency workers is a shameful relic of another age that should be outlawed."

MARTIN TEMPLE, EEF

"This is a bad day for business and another brick in the wall of labour market rigidity.

"The critical issue for business will be ensuring there is a clear and limited definition of basic working and employment conditions to which equal treatment will apply."

DAVID FROST, BRITISH CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE

"This is a bad deal for business.

"The success of the UK economy over recent years has been down to our flexible labour market. When the economy is weakening this is not a time to further reduce flexibility."

RICHARD LAMBERT, CBI

"This won't be as bad as it would have been if we had what the unions had asked for.

"What has been so important for the economy in the last 15 years is it has a flexibility to adapt to change and agency work is an important part of that so it will have an impact."

KEVIN BARROW, BLAKE LAPTHORN TARLO LYONS (LAW FIRM)

"It is not the worst that could have happened from an employer's perspective because rights cutting in from 12 weeks is not as early as the French have pushed for.

"However, the legislation will put up direct and indirect costs for users of temporary and agency staff."

LORELY BURT, LIBERAL DEMOCRAT SMALL BUSINESS SPOKESWOMAN

"This new agreement is a welcome step forward as temporary and agency staff are some of the most vulnerable employees.

"However, many people choose agency work because they value the flexibility and increased employment opportunities it brings.

"The government must reassure these workers and businesses that clamping down on unscrupulous companies will not be at the expense of a flexible labour market."

TOM HADLEY, RECRUITMENT AND EMPLOYMENT CONFEDERATION

"There are concerns that any new regulations will impact on the viability of temp and contract work in the UK, especially at such a delicate time in the UK labour market.

"The scope of equal treatment provisions is a vital issue and it is essential this covers only basic pay rather than other benefits and pensions which would be almost impossible to work out for each assignment."

TINA SOMMER, FEDERATION OF SMALL BUSINESSES

"This is a disastrous deal for small businesses which rely on the flexibility provided by agency workers.

"Agency fees and high hourly rates mean temporary workers far from being seen as cheap labour, are already a costly but useful way of responding to fluctuations in demand.

"If that flexibility is lost, many small businesses will stop using temporary employees."


SEE ALSO
Agency staff to get equal rights
20 May 08 |  Business
Mixed views of agency worker plan
14 May 08 |  UK Politics

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