Thursday, 22 May 2008

A New Deal for Agency & Temporary Workers


Following previous requests for updates on progress since Andrew Miller's bill it is fantastic to able to report a cave in on the part of the New Labour government with the confirmation that statutory rights to parity with other workers will be afforded to colleagues who work via agencies and/or are temporary.

Have a look at the article in Wednesday's Guardian for a more detailed account:

Any thoughts/comments?




Jaswant said...


This is good news but what I am concerned about is the idea that employers could introduce local variations to the way the system works - what does that mean?

New Labour are good at saying one thing and the law it creates being too flexible to be any good.

It's a good win though and it's great that the TU's worked hard to pressure the government.



Jenni said...

Hello Ian,

Thanks for picking up on this. My UNISON regional officer had mentioned this when we last spoke but to be honest I thought he was making it up (he often does!).

This is excellent news. A big issue in our branch is agency workers not joining the union as they don't see our relevance in not being able to push for comparable terms and conditions.

It's a pity that the government had to be almost dragged kicking and screaming to this - and not at all surprising that I woke up this morning to find that we had last Crewe. Jesus!

I have mentioned to you before the Campaign for a New Workers Party. There's a lot of people signed up to it and it's about time.

See you soon


Peter said...

Hi Ian,

Thanks for the update. I think it was me chasing you for further news following the initial post on Andrew Miller's bill.

This is great news for the movement. Although it hasn't been an issue in our workplace I know that our regional organiser for AMICUS has said to me that she knows of at least 20 workplaces where AMICUS is recognised but where few if any agency workers have signed up.

All being well we can do some constructive work now and not only get these workers into membership but also see whether we can negotiate a transition to permanent status.

It's rare we have good news, but when it comes its really good!

Hope you have a good bank holiday weekend, and hopefully see you at Esher some time soon.


Val said...


I can see our employer just reducing the hourly rate to compensate for this. They did similar when the part-time workers directive came in.

If they do it again it won't go down well with the main group of workers who'll continue to blame the agency women.

I know it is an improvement but our sector is bad anyway and introducing new rights doesnt get employers to get beter - they just get worse.


PS You still owe me a drink for sorting that bloke out on that course!

Muhammed said...

Hello Ian,

Apologies for not visiting the blog recently.

I'd read the Guardian article on Wednesday and was interested in the view that it was a compromise involving the CBI in the light of the impending EU directive.

On this basis the employer's position is worrying as they keep referring to the strength of the economy being about 'flexibility' (i.e. hire and fire at will). At the same time the government has never (I don't think) talked about the outcome from that ideology within the context of poverty and the destabilising of lives and communities from insecure work.

We have talked previously about the on-set of the EU's Social Agenda and within this the notion of 'flexicurity'. The reason we hear nothing from New Labour about the poor social outcomes from flexicurity-style labour markets is that the are wedded to the concept themselves.

Although the Tories have little to offer, and given the outcome from Crewe yesterday, I do tend to think that if this is what we get at the end of a decade of New Labour perhaps we need to be re-energised as movement with a head-on battle with a Tory government.

Controversial eh?



Ian Manborde said...

Hi Muhammed,

Yes, maybe controverial, but I tend to think you are throwing the towel in a too early a stage.

Similarly, I think that it is highly debatable whether the movement would be 're-energised' under a Tory government as opposed to being increasingly debilitated.

We have not witnessed significant stable trade union growth either in membership or sectorally under New Labour I cannot see why that would necessarily improve under Cameron.

Does anyone have any thoughts here?

Best wishes


Alan said...


You know what my views are on this. I know you don't agree I think it's right to maintain a differential between different types of worker.

These workers drive rates down and don't join the union.

I dont think its good and theres many I know in our branch who agree.


Ian Manborde said...


I'm shocked.

How many times have we discussed the imperative that unions organise all workers particularly those made vulnerable by being employed via agencies?

Don't you understand that it is not the agency workers who drive down T&C but your employer in connivance with the agency?

Why do you fall into the old-style union trap of blaming the worker not the employer?

Obviously, despite your mature age, you simply haven't attend enough training and/or have not listened.

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