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Temp working conditions 'not fair'

Published: Friday, 16 May 2008   Category: Government policies | Life after graduation

Temporary workers are to be given additional work rights under proposals outlined yesterday by prime minister Gordon Brown.

Agency employees are to receive the same pay and holiday entitlement as permanent staff, in a move welcomed by university-leavers, many of whom seek temporary work to bridge the gap between final exams and commencement of a permanent graduate job.

Speaking in the commons, Mr Brown told MPs it is "not fair" agency workers can be paid less than their colleagues "even after months in the job".

Trade unions and Labour MPs have long been calling for improved conditions for temps.

Brendan Barber, general secretary of the Trade Union Congress, said: "I welcome the prime minister’s clear recognition that agency workers get a raw deal, and that there is a need to make life fairer for agency workers."

However, Chris Hannant, head of policy at the British Chambers of Commerce, suggested the proposals could undermine the flexibility of the UK labour market, causing damage to employers and reducing job opportunities.

Agency workers are seen as a vital resource by some employers, since as they are externally recruited meaning the administrative burden of hiring staff is reduced.
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