It had been hoped that the implementation of the Agency Workers Directive would be postponed; however Gordon Brown has confirmed that it will become law within the next few months. The Prime Minister made this promise when he was addressing the TUC Congress.
The Directive has caused concerns amongst contractors and agency groups alike. It is feared that this EU directive would make contractors a less attractive option due to the employment rights that it would award them. The original aim of the Directive was to protect the most vulnerable agency workers.
The Prime Minister said: “I believe that the fight for fairness must include agency workers, and so I pledge to you today that when Parliament returns our new legislative programme will include equal treatment for agency workers and that in the coming few months the law will be on the statute book.”
This promise by Gordon Brown was met with condemnation from the Association of Recruitment Consultancies (ARC) whose chair, Adrian Marlowe, said: “”Forget Liverpool, Union leaders must be living in la la land if they think bring in the Agency Workers Directive now will protect one job. If this directive goes ahead it will hit jobs and the economy hard. The Government should think twice of the true cost of implementing the directive at cost in excess of £2 billion, money the Country can ill afford. At a time when employers need flexibility and encouragement to take on new workers gold plating the directive will simply lead to greater unemployment.”