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Sweden – Staffing industry demonised

10 October 2012

The CEO of staffing firm Uniflex, one of the largest in Sweden, has accused the left-wing party in the country of painting a one-sided picture of the staffing industry and circulating only negative information to the public.

Jan Bengtsson argued that the left-wing party continuously ignores what important a role recruiters play in helping immigrants and young people gain ground in the labour market.

“The proportion of people with an immigrant background is twice as high in the staffing industry as in the labour market in general. In the case of young people, the staffing industry shows a more than three times higher proportion of employees aged 18-24, compared with the industry in total,” he said.

The left-wing hostility towards agency work, Mr Bengtsson argued, only serves one purpose which is to win “easy votes.” This comes after left-wing politicians have supported plans to ban agency labour altogether.

Uniflex’s CEO said that the party likened the staffing industry with poor working conditions and job insecurity, playing on people’s fears. He instead pointed out that several surveys have found that agency workers often find permanent employment after working at client companies.

“Results from both Swedish and foreign studies show that few employers use temporary staffing to replace their permanent headcount. However, there is no doubt that the lack of good, new jobs in the Swedish labour market is a real problem. Temporary staffing is, in fact, an important part of the solution. Although there is a tendency to demonise the entire industry,” he blogged on the Swedish website Newsmill. 

Collective agreements ensure that temporary workers benefit from equal working conditions and fair compensation.

“When the Left is chanting that they want to stop an employers' ability to use staffing companies, this is the wrong way to go. They ignore the fact that agencies create jobs,” Mr Bengtsson criticised.  

The Swedish government is currently reviewing a bill to introduce European regulation on agency labour which, in its current draft, does not lift restrictions on the staffing industry; something that the government is obliged to review as part of the EU Agency Work Directive. 


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