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Waste industry welcomes agency worker regulations

The waste management industry has welcomed forthcoming legislation aimed at improving rights for agency workers.

The Agency Workers regulations, which come into force on 1 October 2011, will provide agency workers with the same treatment and conditions as if they had been directly employed to perform the role.

The new legislation will allow temporary workers the same basic working and employment conditions, such as work hours, overtime, breaks, holidays and pay as those employees directly hired by a company after a 12 week qualifying period.

A British Cleaning Council spokesman told MRW: “An extensive survey in 2008 by the TUC of agency workers claimed that three in five believed they had jobs where the employer was trying to have work done on the cheap. Also, agency workers are currently entitled to four weeks’ paid leave a year but 56% of those surveyed by the TUC said they did not have the same holiday rights as permanent staff. The new regulations will make it tougher for employers to get away with this kind of behaviour.”

News of the change to agency workers’ rights has been welcomed by waste management company Viridor.

The company’s head of human resources Lesley Davison said: “We are well underway in implementing the changes needed to comply with the forthcoming agency workers regulations. We welcome the proposed changes as we recognise the key role of agency workers in our industry as they provide a flexible and timely resource to ensure high levels of compliance and productivity so we can provide a continual and reliable service for our customers.

“The legislation lends itself to greater transparency and fairness which is welcomed.” 

It is estimated that as many as 5% of the total UK workforce is employed through UK agencies.

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