The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) are up in arms about a proposed European directive that would give significantly greater rights to temporary workers
Under the proposal, temporary staff engaged for more than six weeks would receive the same basic employment conditions as permanent workers, including such things as pay rates, maternity rights, rest periods and paid holidays. In most cases, these costs would fall to the temp agency. There would also be a knock-on effect for businesses, as agencies are likely to raise rates to cover the extra costs. A survey by the CBI released in August indicated that, if the directive went ahead, 57 per cent of firms would offer fewer temp assignments. The DTI has released an early consultation document in a bid to fight the move. Michael Burd, joint head of employment at Lewis Silkin, said: "They're seeking to get ammunition to fight or dilute [the directive]." The Government may have good grounds to fight the proposal. "It's made under Article 137 of the EU Treaty, which deals with working conditions, but expressly excludes pay," said Burd. Pay is one of the very conditions the proposed directive seeks to change.