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PCG CONDEMNS KNEE-JERK UNION REACTION AS FREELANCE DATA LEAKED TO BANK

PCG CONDEMNS KNEE-JERK UNION REACTION AS FREELANCE DATA LEAKED TO BANK

PCG, the largest organisation representing the UK’s freelance sector, today hit out after personal contractor details were leaked by Hays and also attacked the knee-jerk reaction by the Unite union to figures featured in the leaked document.

Some 3,000 contractors' names and billing rates were attached to an email sent from recruitment agency Hays to contractors engaged by Royal Bank of Scotland to remind managers to complete timesheets before the August Bank Holiday weekend.

PCG is angered at the leak by Hays and the potential data protection issues and calls on member and non-member contractors alike to contact them if they have been affected by the disclosure.

However it is the reaction of the Unite Union that has caused the most consternation amongst freelance workers.

A national officer of Unite used the leak to attack RBS for engaging freelance businesses and was quoted as saying “Unite has serious concerns about the widespread use of highly-paid staff on short term contracts at a time when RBS continues to cut large numbers of staff.”

James Collings, PCG Deputy Chairman, commented that the leak of confidential data raised serious issues, but just as worrying was the way a trade union tried to hijack the disclosures to score cheap political points.

James said:

“In any walk of life one expects sensitive commercial information to remain private and we are most upset that data relating to freelancers has been placed in the public domain. We appeal to all PCG members affected by this to get in touch with us and should non-members need advice we will try and help on our website www.pcg.org.uk.

“We are disturbed that Unite seems to have taken some of the confidential information from the leaked document and used this to attack both RBS and the UK’s 1.4m freelance businesses.

“This attack displays a fundamental lack of understanding of the business relationship between contractors and their clients – contractors are not client’s “staff” at all and receive none of the benefits given to employees and indeed have to provide those benefits for their own staff.

“RBS, in common with many organisations throughout the UK see the merit in using a skilled and flexible freelance work force when and where there is a demand for their talent and paying these businesses a market rate.

“Indeed, one in 20 people in the workforce now work as freelancers and equating day rate to salary as Unite did shows little comprehension of this model.

“I believe Unite should look after its members instead of trying to discredit, demean and degrade the freelance community.”

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