Temporary and agency workers now make up a significant part of the workforce. There are approximately 1.7 million temporary and agency workers in the UK. Many businesses rely on them to fill gaps due to holidays, sickness and recruitment issues. There are also many reasons why people take temporary work, sometimes they will just have left university or education, they may have relocated to the area and be looking for permanent work, or found themselves without work due to redundancy.
Paul Farrelly, Labour MP for Newcastle-under-Lyme has introduced a Private Members Bill to protect temporary workers, and specifically to make sure:-
- Any agency worker cannot be treated by the employing business less favourably in respect of his basic working conditions than a comparable direct worker.
- That all agency workers will be informed of any vacancies for direct work.
- Any clause of any contract that prevents an agency worker becoming a direct worker is invalid.
- Limits the reasons for which agency workers can be dismissed.
The Bill is strongly supported by the Trade Unions. However as it is a Private Members Bill there will be limited amount of time to debate it on the day it is scheduled, 2 March 2007. The day is a Friday, when most MPs will be in their constituency, and if there are less than 100 MPs in the House, the Bill will not get any further than this second reading.