» Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Agency Workers Directive

Asked if an agreement had been reached regarding the AWD, the PMS said that there had been very constructive discussions between the TUC and the CBI, as well as the Government, on the AWD in recent days and weeks. The PMS went on to say that he was not currently in a position to confirm any announcement, although something was expected shortly from the department. The background was that there was a directive being considered by the European Union and that in this directive, agency workers would have equal rates after 6 weeks employment. It was the Government’s view, shared by the CBI, that accepting this proposal would put our flexible labour market at risk. That was why the TUC and the CBI had been trying to find an agreement on an alternative proposal; if we could get agreement between employers and the unions then that should enable us to find a way forward with Europe.

Put that the BBC were already reporting that an agreement had been made, the PMS said that people should expect an announcement from the department very shortly.

Asked if the idea of a creating an Agency Workers Commission had been abandoned, the PMS said that this question was about an announcement that had not formally happened yet and it was for the department to make those sorts of announcements. The key point was that we had been seeking to achieve agreement between the employers and the unions, which they would both be comfortable with. In turn, that would then enable us to put a proposition to Europe, avoiding having to accept the 6-week qualifying period, which we believed would put our flexible labour market at risk.

Asked if the Government hoped to retain an opt-out on the Working Time Directive if agreement was reached in Europe, the PMS said that that was certainly our hope and expectation.

original source.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Search for related news

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