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Cath Everett

Sift Media

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

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BMW negotiates with unions over agency worker get-out clause


BMW has entered into negotiations with unions over its use of a legal get-out clause to the Agency Worker Regulations, which would result in it not having to pay temp workers the same as permanent ones.

The luxury car manufacturer had intended to employ the so-called ‘Swedish derogation’, which enables recruitment agencies to employ temps directly and contract them out to organisations.
But it has now said in a statement: “The company and Unite, the union, have jointly agreed to enter into discussions relating to the use of agency staff. While these discussions are ongoing, the company will not proceed with its plan to use regulation 10 of the Agency Worker Regulations [the Swedish derogation].”
The firm also added that it would not proceed with plans to close its current pension scheme to new entrants while union negotiations were still taking place.
The Agency Worker Regulations were brought in to try and equalise a pay gap of an average of 10% between permanent and temporary staff. But a number of large employers such as Tesco, Premier Foods, Carlsberg and Morrisons indicated last year that they were talking to their recruitment agencies about using the get-out clause.
Temporary job placements drop
And a study this week by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation and auditors KPMG revealed that the number of people being placed in temporary jobs had fallen for the first time in December since July 2009.
In an index where any figure below 50 signals a decline, the Report on Jobs indicated that the number of temporary placements dropped to 49 last month from 50.9 in November. Although the decline was only marginal, there have been suggestions that some employers are now more wary of taking on agency staff due to the extra costs involved.
Bernard Brown, partner and head of business services at KPMG, said: “It is of huge concern to see temporary placements falling in tandem with permanent employment opportunities, making it difficult to be optimistic about the employment market in 2012.”
The decline in the availability of temporary roles for the first time in almost two-and-a-half years was a clear indication that businesses were too nervous to even make short-term commitments due to the continued uncertainty across the Eurozone and so much talk of a tough year ahead, he added.
The number of job candidates finding permanent work fell again for the third month on the trot in December to 48.5, although salaries remain broadly flat.


Author Profile Picture
Cath Everett

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

Read more from Cath Everett

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