As I mentioned in an earlier post, I am on Labour's list for the European elections here in the North East. Consequently, on occasions, I will be blogging about more exotic European matters as the 2009 poll draws near.
I'm delighted to be able to report today that agreement has been reached today here in the UK on equal treatment for our 1.4 million agency workers after 12 weeks employment, thus ending a six-year deadlock. Labour MEP's have been at the forefront of the campaign to give these vulnerable workers better terms and conditions of employment.
Speaking from Strasbourg, Claude Moraes MEP Labour's Employment Spokesperson, and Stephen Hughes MEP, Socialist Spokesperson on Employment and of course our current Labour MEP here in the North East, said: "Labour MEPs have long fought for the protection of agency workers. Today's agreement is an important step towards giving vulnerable workers in the UK a fair deal at work."
"We welcome today's agreement on the protection of agency workers and now urge European Governments to finalise an agreement in terms of the key elements of good legislation in this area - a sensible and workable "qualifying period"; and equal pay and terms and conditions following this qualifying period. This agreement is vital for the rising numbers of UK agency workers."
"Labour MEPs are looking forward to comprehensive UK and Europe wide legislation going on the statute book as soon as possible."
"We sincerely hope this will pave the way to agreement on the European directive on agency workers at the next meeting of Employment ministers on 9th and 10th of June."
For me, this a matter of basic human rights, and it's monstrous that it has been considered acceptable to pay agency workers less, and treat them differemtly as far as holiday entitlement or their employments terms are concerned. I'm proud that a Labour government has finally corrected this injustice.