Skip to main content

Agency Workers

Volume 406: debated on Wednesday 4 June 2003

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.


When he next expects to meet representatives of employment agencies to discuss the use of agency workers in the small firm sector in Wales. [116425]

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and I have no plans to meet representatives of the Wales and south-west region of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation. However, we would be happy to meet them if asked.

I am sorry that the Minister is not going to meet them in the near future, because has he had a chance to consider the possible impact of the agency workers directive on the recruitment of temporary staff in Wales? Is he aware that the CBI has estimated that the directive could cost more than 60,000 jobs in Wales alone? Surely, if he and the Secretary of State really want to help manufacturing, they will do all that they can to stop that job-destroying directive.

The hon. Gentleman has raised this matter about seven times in the House. He is certainly persistent and diligent in pursuing it, and I do not criticise him for that. Yesterday, at the Employment and Social Policy Council, my hon. Friend the Minister for Employment Relations, Industry and the Regions at the Department of Trade and Industry failed to reach agreement on the Commission's proposals. The British Government's position is that we will continue to work for a directive that gets the right balance between protecting agency workers and protecting their jobs.

Does my hon. Friend welcome the opportunity for the small firms sector that will arise from the welcome news today that Celsa is to restart steelmaking on the ASW site in Cardiff? Will he do all that he can to ensure that the jobs that might be advertised by employment agencies go to redundant steelworkers from ASW?

I do indeed welcome the news that the project that Celsa is engaged in at the former ASW plant in Cardiff is to go ahead. I take note of my hon. Friend's point, and I would say that any agency recruiting workers for Celsa in Cardiff would certainly have to look in the first instance at the former employees of ASW. Their skills are in very high demand, and I have no doubt that the quality work force who were treated so badly by ASW will provide an excellent work force for Celsa.