With little activity since discussions between Member States stalled in October 2004 – principally over the period after which temporary workers would gain full employment rights – the Agency Workers Directive looks like it may be reactivated. According to UK Employment Relations Minister Pat McFadden, the directive was to be discussed at an official level during September and, if reaction was positive, would be voted on by the EU Council of Employment in December.

The Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Secretary John Hutton has recently commented that the UK Government would only support the Agency Workers Directive if it protected jobs. Hutton said there were two tests that the wording of the directive needed to pass. “First, does it protect jobs and so advance the fundamental right to work? Will it continue to allow companies to go on creating jobs and promote rising national prosperity? And second, will it make a positive change for the most vulnerable working people?”