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At the European regional meeting of the International Labour Organization (ILO) in Oslo last week, the international confederation of private employment services (Eurociett) welcomed the focus on economic growth and job creation.
Staffing firms across the region have seen tough market conditions as the economy remains sluggish in many European countries and demand for staff has slowed down. The European job market remains tight as unemployment continues to grow.
At the meeting, Eurociett criticised the ILO for not acknowledging temporary agency work enough. “It is regretful to see that the ILO fails to recognise the positive contribution of non-traditional forms of employment, and in particular of temporary agency work, in creating jobs, increasing labour market participation and facilitating transitions in the labour market,” it said.
Speaking at the meeting, Eurociett president Annemarie Muntz said that “agency work can contribute to jobs, growth and social justice, but only if it is well regulated. ILO Convention No. 181 on private employment agencies provides the appropriate framework for regulation. More ratifications should be promoted as not all countries have regulation on agency work in place.”
Recent research by the staffing association highlights the benefits of temporary staffing. In the Netherlands for instance, 60% of people having entered the labour market via agency work are still in work after three years. In Germany, over 60% of temporary agency workers starting in 2011 were unemployed or had never worked before.
Ms Muntz said that “agency work needs good regulation in place to play its role in full and the regulation must be enforced properly. In Europe we still see some cases where countries are hindering the industry’s job creation potential by not reforming their labour markets.”