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Hull MP asks for help in exposing agency worker scandal

Hull North MP Diana Johnson today urged Hull constituents to tell her if they have suffered mistreatment at work because they are an agency worker.

The call comes after the Government agreed that it will accept evidence submitted to it detailing ways in which agency workers are mistreated.

Labour MPs and leading trade unions have been campaigning for the rigorous enforcement of UK labour laws to tackle the abuse of agency workers, with further legislation if necessary to prevent unscrupulous employers from using agency staff to drive down the pay and conditions of directly employed workers. Diana Johnson MP said: “The poor treatment of agency workers does not just effect agency workers themselves. It has a knock-on effect that endangers the pay, conditions and job security of many other workers. It undermines the whole legal basis of our labour market. In words once used by Winston Churchill, ‘the good employers are undercut by the bad, and the bad are undercut by the worst’.

“I want the agency workers in my Hull North constituency to tell me about their experiences. For some the flexibility of temporary agency working is a bonus, but there are increasing instances where agency working is the only option on offer. With it comes job insecurity, poorer pay, no holiday and sick pay - and even cases of wages being docked to pay for essential equipment or training.
“In Hull alone, there will be hundreds, possibly thousands, of agency workers. Across the UK economy there are almost 1.5 million. The Labour Government has already passed much legislation for the fair treatment of working people. However, when agency staff are mistreated, or used to undercut the hard-won pay and conditions of their directly employed colleagues, we must act.

“I therefore appeal to the Hull people I represent to help with this vital campaign. In Hull, we are presently marking our city’s role in ending the slave trade 200 years ago. Now we must act against the present day equivalent.”
Diana Johnson MP particularly wants to hear from you if you are an agency worker, or work where there are agency workers, and have encountered:

Agency workers being paid less money than permanent workers doing the same job and under the legal national minimum wage.
Agency workers denied holiday entitlement or sick pay
Long term use of agency workers but no permanent position for them
Deductions from agency workers’ pay including for equipment, transport or accommodation costs.

If you have a story to tell, write to Diana Johnson MP at the House of Commons, Westminster, London SW1A 0AA before 25 May. The information you provide will be submitted to the Department of Trade and Industry as evidence for the need for better protection for agency workers.