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Report calls for equal rights

08 May 2008

Report calls for equal rights Agency workers should be given similar rights as permanent staff, regardless of how long their tenure, a new report has revealed.

The report - called Agency Working in the UK: What do we know? - by leading academics revealed that waiting a year before giving temporary workers the same rights as full-time staff would be too late for most.

Using data from the 2007 Labour Force Survey and the 2006 Skills Survey, the scholars paint a clear picture of the current state of agency work in the UK which may interest students working as temps to support their studies.

Academics from the universities of Bradford, Leeds and Kent found the average length of agency work is four and a half months, and nearly three-quarters (73 per cent) of those employed through agencies do not stay with an employer longer than a year.

Chris Forde, senior lecturer in industrial relations at Leeds University and co-author of the report, said: "Agency working has grown in importance over recent years. Our figures, drawn from nationally representative data, provide a reliable basis for comparing the experience of agency workers with other groups in the labour market."

The reports co-author Dr Gary Slater, senior lecturer in economics at the University of Bradford, added that almost three-quarters of agency workers would not be covered if equal rights were limited to those with tenure of "one year or more".

"Which surely runs counter to the aims of the Bill to provide equal treatment," he concluded.

The Confederation of British Industry is calling for the equal rights bill to be limited to agency workers that have remained with their employers for more than a year.

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