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UK — General election might speed up new AWD legislation

14 September 2009

Employer groups are having serious concerns that the government will rush through the Agency Workers Directive (AWD) in order to keep unions on side before next year's general election.

David Yeandle, Head of Employment Policy at manufacturers' body EEF told Personnel Today, "there is a serious worry that the government will rush to implement the directive by April 2010. The Trades Union Congress (TUC) is having its conference this week and the AWD is right at the top of their agenda. There is serious concern that politics will overtake practical consideration as to when this legislation is introduced."

Mr. Yeandle said further, "behind the scenes there will a huge amount of arm twisting," expressing his concerns that the unions will not be satisfied unless the law is in place before the election.

Katja Hall, Director of HR Policy at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), said, "throwing agency working into flux by introducing rushed regulation 18 months ahead of schedule will only deter firms from taking on temporary staff, and this will lead to higher unemployment."

The TUC disputed the idea that it was "arm-twisting". A spokesman said, "the recession has demonstrated that agency workers are particularly vulnerable to dismissal and poor treatment. Introducing new rights as early as possible would give agency workers the rights and protection they need."



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