APSCo outlines lobbying position as May ascends to PM
As Theresa May prepares for office, The Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) has revealed how it plans to work with the post-Brexit Government to influence legislative changes on behalf of its members.
Samantha Hurley, operations director at APSCo, comments:
“It is crucial that the Government consults with representative bodies in the professional recruitment sector as EU-derived laws are replaced by, or recreated into, British statute. In its EU Manifesto, APSCo highlights the importance of any trade negotiations or agreements being drawn up in consultation with the private sector. This is essential if we are to avoid an unfair market where European firms can access the UK market, but UK service providers cannot fully access the EU market.
“Our members believe that keeping access to the single market would be advantageous – and with Theresa May now set to become the UK’s next Prime Minister, this scenario looks increasingly likely. With this, we assume, would come free movement of labour which is largely beneficial for the professional sector. Although there are still a plethora of country-specific rules to be negotiated when placing professional staff into other EU states, and the compliance to such legislation should not be underestimated, the reality is that placing professional in the majority of EU countries is still relatively easy compared to some other parts of the world.
“If free movement is to be restricted, it is important that we work with the Government to protect the international mobility of the highly-paid and highly-skilled professionals that all large UK businesses rely on.
“The Temporary Agency Workers Directive is in the top ten of most bodies’ lists of EU directives that they’d like to see changed. It is no secret that APSCo would like to see this legislation amended significantly, or removed entirely, although we think the latter is unlikely. The UK Government has ‘gold-plated’ much of this legislation, and these rights have become part of the fabric of UK social and employment law. What we wouldn’t want to see, however, is small, less-significant changes, as these often cause more disruption than leaving the regulations as they currently are.
“The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has come under justifiable criticism in the past in a number of areas relating to the activities of recruitment firms. The most recent case regarding holiday pay and commission payments, for example, risks setting a precedent that could have a serious impact on any sales related business, and will almost certainly affect the recruitment sector. Despite the UK Government’s intervention, rulings such as this are viewed by the majority of APSCo’s membership as the CJEU interfering in UK employment law - something which we’d like to see stop.
“As a trade body which exclusively represents organisations within the professional recruitment sector, we continuously lobby Government to ensure that the interests of our members are protected. The current landscape offers an opportunity for us to encourage a new regulatory framework that differentiates skilled professionals by positioning them outside of ‘one size fits all’ regulation aimed at protecting unskilled workers. It is the responsibility of the professional recruitment sector to guard against the unions lobbying for such rigid measures to protect the potentially vulnerable that we end up stifling the professional sector as well – which is what has happened in the UK in the past. Today there is a greater understanding of the contribution the professional recruitment sector makes to the UK economy, and so we need to ensure that legislation not only protects the potentially vulnerable but also allows the professional sector to thrive."