Government promoting negative stereotypes of agency workers
Government promoting negative stereotypes of agency workers in new campaign
APSCo letter to Minister for Employment Relations
Just 20% of temporary workforce vulnerable workers
The Government is promoting an out-of-date stereotype of temporary workers as poorly paid and exploited, which is at odds with the reality of work for the majority of temporary workers in the UK, in a new campaign to highlight agency workers rights, says the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) in a letter to Pat McFadden MP, the Minister for Employment Relations.
The new campaign unveiled by the Department of Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) is accompanied by a leaflet which has been sent to over 13,000 staffing companies in the UK. A poster campaign will feature in public places, online and in local press, encouraging workers to be aware of their rights.
APSCo says that the poster which features three workers in manual occupations, one of whom appears to be utterly miserable - reinforces derogatory stereotypes of temporary workers as exploited and poorly paid despite the Governments own statistics showing that just 19.9% of the temporary workforce are unskilled and likely to be paid near the minimum wage.
Ann Swain, Chief Executive, APSCo, comments: This campaign shows just how institutionalised stereotypes of temporary workers are in the Government. It fails to show the variety and diversity of temporary workers in the UK today. Government figures show that just 20% of temporary workers are unskilled, and therefore likely to be paid near the minimum wage, which this poster doesnt reflect at all.
APSCo fully supports the introduction of legislation to enhance the rights of temporary workers, but there is a world of difference between the highly paid workers APSCo members place and the people shown in this campaign. Future publications should more accurately represent the reality of work for the majority of temporary workers in the UK.
She adds: BERR needs to understand that nearly half of all temporary workers are in professional, managerial or technical occupations and are often paid much more than their permanent equivalents. With the Temporary Agency Workers Directive to be implemented in the UK it is vital this distinction is fully appreciated.
APSCo says that this campaign is yet another reason why it is essential to separate the professional level staffing industry from high street recruiters.
She says: It has been too easy in the past to tar all staffing companies with the same brush. The poor reputation the recruitment industry has comes from a small number of rogue firms at the lower end of the market.