November 21 2007 - The TUC contends that agency temps who are on long-term working assignments are running the
risk of being excluded from permanent jobs because of a skills divide in the workplace.
More than half (54%) of agency employees work in the same post for over six months and 28.4% work
are in continuous posts for more than a year.
The TUC viewpoint is that such long assignments do not empower agency workers or provide them with a
'stepping stone' to permanent jobs. In fact, long periods of temping result in the opposite affect. Temporary staff
may find that their prospects in the job market are compromised as a result.
According to the TUC, many businesses using agency workers do not recognise the value of investing in
training for temps. As a result,
temporary staff are much less likely to benefit from training than permanent employees. Consequently, they become trapped in a
pattern of low paid, insecure work.
The TUC media release says that there is a risk of this training gulf producing an underclass of
temporary workers who do not posses the up-to-date skills required to get
permanent work in today's competitive job market. As most temps are young people, women and older workers, large
sectors of the UK's workforce are being denied the training they need to help them find full-time permanent jobs.
The TUC is calling on the UK Government to support the adoption of an EU Temporary Agency Directive
at the meeting of the Social Affairs Council in December. This Directive would give temporary workers the same
equal treatment rights as directlu employed staff - including the same access to training and development.
The TUC position is that these rights should apply from the first day of an agency
temp's work assignment.
TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber commented:
"Far from providing a bridge to permanent work, temps are in danger of being less likely to move into better paid, more secure work, as their training at work is almost non-existent.
"Employers aren't bothering to train agency temps who they view as 'here today and possibly gone tomorrow' and not people who are really part of their organisations. Many employers and employment agencies deny that it is their responsibility to offer training to agency workers - so temps in long-term assignments are missing out, and finding themselves ill-equipped for the future.
"There is a simple solution - the EU Directive could give UK agency workers new rights to equal treatment from the first day they are taken on, ensuring they get the same access to training and development as permanent staff.
"Day one rights would also avoid the danger that rogue employers would get round the law by taking on
temps for one day short of the qualifying period. Agency workers are already facing job insecurity, and any
qualifying period will only make this worse."