During his speech at the Conservative Party conference last week, the Shadow Business Minister Jonathan Djanogly reiterated the Tories' opposition to the Temporary Agency Workers' Directive.
Once incorporated into UK law, the Directive will extend to agency workers some of the basic rights currently afforded regular employees doing the same work (e.g., basic pay and working time rights).
TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber offered a swift rebuke:
"It's a disappointing move. At a time of recession, vulnerable workers are even more likely to be exploited by unscrupulous employers. Agency workers are particularly prone to abuse as they have so few rights.
"The Directive goes some way to remedying this and is being implemented on a basis agreed by both the CBI and the TUC.
"Implementing the Directive is not optional, but a requirement of EU law. There is a danger that this issue gets caught up in Conservative Party divisions about Europe, and the real abuse suffered by agency workers gets completely forgotten."
** Additional Information & Advice **
Agency workers can obtain advice about employment agency standards and their rights under present UK legislation by calling the Pay and Work Rights Helpline. The helpline telephone number is 0800 917 2368. The textphone number is 0800 121 4042. Information is also available on http://www.direct.gov.uk/payandworkrights and http://www.businesslink.gov.uk/payandworkrights.
Depending on your situation, however, you may prefer to speak with a solicitor who specialises in employment law. You can be matched with a solicitor in your area for free via solicitor matching services, which can also help you to understand the best course of action for your situation and whether you are ready to hire a solicitor.
And, again depending on your situation, they may be able to help you find a solicitor who will agree to take your case on a "no win no fee" basis, which means you don't have to pay for the solicitor's services unless you win your case.