The Welsh Assembly’s recent decision to ban Umbrella Companies from its construction sites has met with dismay and criticism from the Freelancer and Contractor Services Association (FCSA).

The FCSA said that the move threatened to tarnish the reputations of the majority of responsible and compliant Umbrella Companies, which between them work diligently in the best interests of freelancers and contractors.

FCSA chief executive Julia Kermode said: “Whilst I understand that this is a procurement decision, I hope that it was not simply a knee jerk reaction to union lobbying. Umbrella employment is a positive choice for many and I am going to personally contact the Welsh Assembly ministers concerned to ensure that they appreciate the benefits of this type of employment and have not simply been influenced by union misunderstandings.”

The main union with a beef about Umbrella Companies is UCATT and Ms Kermode said that the FCSA would continue talks with this organisation to correct some of its misconceptions about the role of Umbrella Employers. More communication is necessary, she argued, to ensure that all involved can give proper consideration to what is right for workers and projects.

Ms Kermode explained that as a trade association representing the Umbrella sector, the FCSA wishes to work with all unions and political parties to ensure that good practice is the norm, while stamping out the incidence of bad practice wherever it exists.

She added: “FCSA members adhere to a strict code of conduct and we are committed to ridding the industry of its cowboys as well as promoting Umbrella Employment as a viable and positive choice for the hirer and the worker.”

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