Socialist Worker

Attempts to undermine temporary workers bill

Issue No. 2089

Bosses will be lobbying MPs furiously this week in a bid to scupper a private member’s bill enforcing the rights of temporary workers. They may not need to put much effort in as the government is likely to reject the plans.

Many agency workers face discrimination in the workplace, poorer pay, and denial of sick, holiday and overtime pay.

Gordon Brown tried to defuse the showdown last week by offering a commission to review the rights of temps. But the unions rejected the compromise.

The last time the bill was discussed Jim Fitzpatrick, then Labour’s minister for employment relations, blocked it.

The bill is backed by the TUC and all the major unions.

Fitzpatrick, who was once a FBU union official, used parliamentary procedure to kill the bill. He kept speaking until time ran out.

At present British labour law fails to protect agency workers. Legislation to change this was promised in the Warwick Agreement and backed by both the Labour Party and TUC conferences in 2006.

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Tue 19 Feb 2008, 18:45 GMT
Issue No. 2089
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