Headlines: August 15th, 2001

The TUC is challenging the Government to prove its commitment to a work-life balance for all – not just to those with high-demand skills.It has conducted a survey which reveals a two tier temporary workforce emerging: those in high skilled, high tech sectors who are able to ‘play the field’ and a growing band of those at the lower end of the labour market who are often paid less, get worse terms and conditions and are worried about their job security.

The survey, Permanent Rights for Temporary Workers, has been published at a time when the TUC fears that the Government might just be about to water down an EU directive on fixed term contracts, avoiding compliance on equal pay and pensions rights.

The TUC also wants the new protections to cover agency workers – people who are put with employers on temporary jobs by agencies, and are sometimes seen as the employee of the agency even though the hirer dictates their conditions.

There are 1.7 million people in the UK on temporary contracts, working as ‘casuals’ or through an agency, which is 7% of the total workforce. Sixteen percent of temporary workers are now with agencies, compared with just 7% eight years ago.

Link: www.tuc.org.uk/temps