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APSCo writes to Peter Mandelson

APSCo writes to Peter Mandelson on Agency Workers Directive following meeting with CBI

The Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) has written to Secretary of State Lord Mandelson to explain why highly paid, highly skilled temporary workers should be excluded from a forthcoming law which will give agency workers the same rights as permanent employees.

The letter came out of a meeting between APSCo and the CBI at which both organisations reached common ground on the vital need for the Temporary Agency Workers Directive (TAWD) to maintain the flexibility and competitiveness of the UK labour market when it is implemented into law.

In its letter to Lord Mandelson APSCo says that there is a clear need to differentiate between highly skilled, highly paid professional contractors and freelancers and low paid, low skilled agency workers, for whose protection the Directive was originally designed.

Furthermore, we are alarmed that the Governments intended implementation date could greatly increase the burden of regulation upon businesses in the high end recruitment sector during a time of such economic difficulty.

Ann Swain, Chief Executive of APSCo, comments: This was a very fruitful meeting with the CBI. We were very impressed by its level of involvement with BERR and its commitment to maintaining the UKs flexible workforce. For a long time we were aware we shared a great deal of common ground on the Temporary Agency Workers Directive and it is a real boost that the CBI has thrown its weight behind the letter APSCo has sent to Lord Mandelson.

It is vital that the Government understands that the recruitment market in the UK is hugely diverse and that there is a world of difference between the contractors APSCo members place and the kind of vulnerable workers this legislation is designed to protect.

The TAWD will entitle agency workers who have worked on assignment with the same end user for at least 12 weeks to at least equal treatment as permanent workers. The meaning of equal treatment has yet to be precisely defined, but it will definitely include equal pay, and is likely to encompass basic working conditions, such as access to training, amenities, notice of termination, and so on.

APSCo was asked by the CBI to provide it with a briefing document further explaining how umbrella companies operate in the recruitment market.

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