Agency workers must receive the same pay and conditions as permanent staff, says the Public and Commercial Services union as new regulations come into force.
The union, which has campaigned for many years for better treatment for this vulnerable and often exploited group of workers, has welcomed legislation that comes into effect on 1 October as "a big step forward".
But the union says it still has some concerns about how the agency workers directive will be implemented in practice, particularly that some employers could use loopholes to ensure agency staff are not employed in the same role for 12 weeks so they never gain the same rights as their colleagues.
While agency workers should only be used in limited circumstances for genuinely short-term cover, the union adds, when they are used they should receive equal pay and conditions in return for the contribution their work brings to organisations.
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: "The new regulations are a big step forward and a tribute to our agency worker reps and members who have campaigned for decent treatment and equal rights.
"We will be keeping a close eye on how this works in practice, and will continue to make the case for full and equal rights for agency staff."
- For information and interview requests contact PCS national press officer Richard Simcox on 020 7801 2747 or 07833 978216
- The Public and Commercial Services union represents civil and public servants in central government. It has around 290,000 members in over 200 departments and agencies, and in parts of government transferred to the private sector. PCS is the UK's sixth largest union and is affiliated to the TUC. The general secretary is Mark Serwotka and the president is Janice Godrich - on Twitter @janicegodrich
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