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ARC dismisses Ed Miliband's criticisms of recruitment agencies

Adrian Marlowe, chairman of ARC commented “Mr. Miliband, in drawing attention to the real issue that some low paid staff are not being paid enough, specifically points the finger at the so called .,Swedish Derogation, and the hiring in of cheap foreign labour, both of which he suggests serve to undermine proper pay rates and both of which he lays at the feet of recruitment agencies. Is this fair?”

“Agencies take their instructions from hirers who set the payment agenda and want to keep down their employment overheads, and the law of supply and demand applies. Foreign labour is mainly facilitated by foreign agencies, not UK ones, and surely discrimination laws protect against selection based on race or nationality.

“Under the Agency Workers Regulations (AWR) agencies must ensure that their supplied workers are paid the same rates as comparable employees doing the same job. There is no equivalent rule for employees.

“Eversheds has reported that 17% of employers use Swedish Derogation arrangements. It follows that 83% of other employers do not, and so the vast majority of agency workers are likely to have the pay rights which the Labour government fought to obtain, and are therefore better off in terms of pay rights than their employee counterparts.”

“In achieving that 83% success rate Labour had to negotiate with both sides of the industry, and the finely balanced outcome included the Swedish Derogation. It was clearly the intention of the European Parliament that this derogation would be used.  So what’s wrong with it and should the Agency Workers Regulations be adjusted in one area without an overall review?

“Should Labour not accept the regulations as an achievement and leave the agencies to get on now and help the economy grow rather than treat them as scapegoats?”

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