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World – Ciett hits back against global union report

05 October 2012

After a major international union this week criticised the use of agency labour and launched an attack against the staffing industry, the Confederation of Private Employment Agencies (Ciett) dismissed the claims on Thursday.

IndustriALL Global Union, which represents 50 million workers in 140 countries, published a “Triangular trap” report on the use of “precarious” work, focusing mainly on agency labour as the main cause.

Ciett said the report contained “many factual inaccuracies about the staffing industry as well as Ciett advocacy positions and wrongly focuses on temporary agency work (TAW) when it comes to precarious work.”

“In its effort to address precarious work, IndustriAll is fighting the wrong battle by focusing on TAW”, said Fred van Haasteren, Ciett President.

“Accounting for 1.5% of the global workforce, TAW not only represents a minor part of the development of triangular employment relationships (compared to subcontracting, outsourcing, consulting or payrolling).

“It also plays a key role in helping disadvantaged workers enter the labour market and provides a stepping stone to stable jobs. This positive role is well documented by many pieces of independent research and has been recognised by many policy makers at national, EU and global levels.”

Ciett said the report wrongly assesses the evolution of temporary staffing. “The report makes a number of factually inaccurate claims and confuses TAW with other forms of employment relationships such as fixed-term contracts.”

The organisation also denied that there was a “massive explosion” in the use of agency labour as the number of agency workers in many parts of the world has declined over the last four years, particularly in Europe, the USA, and Japan.

Claims that agency workers receive lower wages are also unfounded as equal pay already applies in many countries around the world, including EU states, Argentina, Brazil, China and Russia.

“IndustriAll should recognise that in our post-industrial societies, many types of non-direct forms of employment are developing to meet the need of both workers and companies,” Ciett said.

The confederation lobbies for proper regulation in the industry to eliminate rogue agencies and has also pledged to create millions of jobs in the coming years to support those more vulnerable in the labour market. 

Ciett called for a “meaningful” dialogue and conducting joint research to discuss the staffing industry “on reliable and robust statistics and not on anecdotal, individual cases.”

IndustriAll is planning a day of action on Sunday October 7th called ‘World Day for Decent Work’ claiming that pay and conditions are being driven ever lower by companies that rely on precarious work to reduce their labour costs and pass all the risk of employment onto workers. A battle which, the union suggests “must be won”.

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