Brown bows to union pressure at the TUC conference

Some of you may have read an article from sent under its email alert scheme headed “Agency workers directive implementation delayed until 2010”, which stated that Gordon Brown has announced that the Directive will be included in the “next parliamentary session”, and therefore cannot be implemented until April 2010. Kevin Greene of the REC is quoted as welcoming this development. He says it shows that government is listening to the voice of the recruitment industry.

The implication is that there is to be a delay. However what Gordon Brown actually said was “when parliament returns our new legislative programme will include equal treatment for agency workers and that in the coming few months the law will be on the statute book”. The Recruiter article is therefore wide of the mark.

Rather than indicating a delay it is clear that the government intends to steam ahead with the new legislation within the current parliamentary session despite calls for more time. It is important not to over react. The government may well legislate within the next few months but this does not mean that the law will be implemented early – the Prime Minister said nothing about this. In this regard and also in terms of how the government will implement, the jury will remain out until the 2nd consultation.

In a separate article on the REC website the REC claims that “this means that the Directive cannot be implemented in April 2010”. In our view this is wrong since the government could implement any time after approval of the Regulations, which is expected to be completed in January or February 2010 barring intervening events!

On checking with BIS today we are told that the 2nd consultation will commence at the end of this month or early next month but that the consultation period will be longer than originally indicated (1 month). Uniquely both ARC and Lawspeed (slightly more forcefully) had pushed BIS for a longer 2nd consultation and to take more time to consider the law so it looks as if this may have had some impact.

The TUC has passed a motion today calling upon the government to introduce the AWD immediately, in the interests of saving jobs!

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