Employment agencies forum to discuss Corby temporary workers’ rights

Andy Sawford MP, right, and council leader Tom Beattie
Andy Sawford MP, right, and council leader Tom Beattie

Employment agencies, businesses and trade unions will meet to discuss the working conditions and terms of temporary staff.

They have been invited to a meeting of the Corby Employment Agencies Forum by Corby and East Northants MP Andy Sawford.

Being held at the Cube from 1.30pm until 3.30pm today, it will be the first meeting of the forum since the launch of its employment agencies’ code of practice last year.

The code encourages good practice in the employment of temporary workers and has been signed up to by 11 agencies and some of the town’s biggest employers such as Tata Steel and RS Components.

Mr Sawford said: “One of the six pledges I made when I was elected was to take action on rogue employment agencies.

“I have worked closely with local agencies, businesses, trade unions and Corby Council to establish the code of practice and to implement it. I am pleased to be bringing these organisations together again to discuss how we continue our efforts to improve employment conditions for thousands of workers across Corby and East Northamptonshire.”

Among the issues to be discussed at the meeting are the use of umbrella pay services companies, the selling of personal accident insurance to temporary workers and trade union membership. The forum will also review how effective the code of practice has been since its launch.

In January Mr Sawford raised the issue in Parliament of agencies selling personal accident insurance to workers.

He told the Commons: “My constituency is plagued by problems, particularly in connection with employment agencies that treat many workers unfairly and make unfair deductions from pay – for example, transport costs, unlawfully charging for personal protective equipment and making workers pay a payroll company just to get their own very low pay – and those deductions take people below the minimum wage.

“The latest scandal involves local agencies charging workers £2.50 a week for personal accident insurance, which they buy for pennies and then sell on at a profit to the worker, when of course the worker is already protected by the employer’s liability insurance.”