Crunch-time on the AWD - EU Council must recognise UK solution, says REC
On Monday (June 9th) the EU Employment Council is meeting in Luxembourg to discuss an outcome to the Agency Workers Directive (AWD) which has remained blocked for the last six years.
One of the aims of the Directive is to ensure equal treatment in terms of pay and working conditions between temporary workers and permanent employees recruited to do the same job.
The REC has always made it clear in its discussions with Government and EU officials that it is not against the overall aims of the Directive and that it is in interests of the industry to ensure that temping is a positive and rewarding experience.
However, the REC has consistently argued that any EU Directive must be implemented in a way that recognises the specific nature of the UK’s temping, contract and interim market.
Commenting ahead of the Employment Council in Luxembourg, Kevin Green, the REC's Chief Executive says: “Monday’s discussions will have a direct impact on the agency work landscape in the UK over the next five years and beyond. The recent deal between the CBI and the TUC is an absolute ‘bottom-line’ and any more damaging measures will be resisted at all costs. It is crunch-time for the Government in terms of ensuring that we have a Directive that is workable for agencies and does not impact on the opportunities that flexible employment provides to millions of workers each year.
“New regulations will undoubtedly bring changes, but will also provide an opportunity for recruiters to demonstrate their awareness and professionalism when discussing the proposed equal treatment measures with clients."
The ‘deal’ that the UK Government will be discussing with EU Ministers on Monday would ensure that equal treatment only kicks in after 12 weeks of an assignment in the UK and bring some clarity is terms of the scope of equal treatment measures (for example, it is just basic pay and working time or does it also cover other benefits such as pensions).
Any agreement at Monday’s meeting will then be discussed by the European Parliament before eventually being implemented in UK law.
The latest analysis by the REC External Relations team indicates that April 2010 is the earliest date for any new regulations to officially come into force.
An REC delegation will be attending the Eurociett conference on Tuesday to take stock of Monday’s Council meeting with EU officials and representatives of the industry across Europe. REC members will be provided with regular updates on all developments.