Monday, February 16, 2009

A tale of exploitation

The redundancies at the Mini car plant in Oxfordshire confirm that agency workers are the most vulnerable victims of the downturn.

If anyone still wondered why the 1.5m UK agency workers need urgent protection, take a look at what's happening at the BMW-owned Mini car factory in Oxford. The expression "second class employee" doesn't stretch far enough to describe it.

As it stands, these are people who still don't enjoy equal pay, holidays, leave for mothers and the right to not be dismissed for joining a union. Courtesy of New Labour's bowing down to the CBI, the government's watered down version of the Temporary and Agency Workers (Equal Treatment) Bill means that agency workers can still:

- be fired at will without notice;
- have no general unfair dismissal right;
- no redundancy right;
- no right to a written statement of their contract;
- no right to request flexible working time;
- no parental or paternity leave.

To find out more about the Oxfordshire job losses, click

For more on the subject of agency work, click here to read T&G's dossier Simon's story: the truth about agency employment in the United Kingdom.

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