I Am Not Abused And Don't Need Your Protection!
Members of Parliament are today debating a private member's bill - the "Temporary and Agency Equal Treatment bill" - which calls for temporary workers to get the same salary, sick pay and holiday rights as permanent employees.
Now, I'm sure that the member who tabled this bill, and the 130-odd MPs who have signed a Commons motion backing it, have done so for laudable reasons, and have the best interests of vulnerable workers in mind. But unfortunately this bill makes no distinction between highly-skilled IT programmers or engineers who choose to work for themselves and happen to source work through an agency, and waiters and messengers, who have no option but to accept temporary positions.
There is a vast difference between low-paid agency workers who are employed to (to quote the TUC general secretary) "undermine the terms, conditions and securities of existing permanent workforces" and a well-remunerated IT consultant, brought in for a limited time to help with a specific project.
Forcing anyone who finds work via an agency to be eligible for the same benefits as a permanent employee will cost business dearly, reduce the flexibility of the workforce and hamper the continued success of the UK's knowledge-based economy.
Temporary workers are already protected by legislation covering working time, minimum wage, discrimination and health and safety. Abuse of such workers should be prevented by more effective enforcement of those existing rules, not new and awkward laws which prevent people from contributing to the economy in the way which best suits themselves and their employers.
In my new role as an IT Contractor I don't want or need the same rights as permanent employees - that's the decision I've taken. I am not abused and don't need any additional protection, I'll look after myself, thank you! The Prime Minister is right to oppose this bill.