Government proposal for commission to study agency rights is met with scepticism by union leaders

Unions are sceptical of government proposals to draw up a commission to study agency workers’ rights.

The plans are intended to be introduced instead of the Agency Workers Bill, which received huge support from Labour backbenchers when it received a second reading last Friday.

Former Cabinet minister Peter Hain and former business minister Alun Michael were among 136 Labour MPs who backed the reading of the bill, which would give 1.4 million agency workers the right to the same equal pay and conditions as full-time employees.

Gordon Brown yesterday met union representatives to discuss the possible commission, which would look at the issue in more detail.

Bob Blackman of Unite T&G said: “Our position won’t change, we’ve got a considerable number of agency workers who are members of the unions and we don’t see any reason why they shouldn’t be getting the same employment rights as everyone else.”

A spokesperson for Ucatt said it was “sceptical” of the government’s move.

The CBI said plans laid down in the Bill could lead to 250,000 job losses and affect the flexible labour market.