Agency Workers in Local Government

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2005 Local Government Service Group Conference
24 February 2005
Carried as Amended

This Conference notes:

1)The large number of staff employed as agency staff within local government

2)That the employers in local government use agency staff as a measure to deal with what are long term recruitment and retention problems which are attributable to poor pay, terms and conditions

3)Agency staff are also used as a measure to control the workplace and to attempt to undermine trade unions

4)In turn, agency workers themselves often suffer bullying and arbitrary treatment

This Conference agrees:

a)That the solution to recruitment and retention problems is to improve pay and conditions

b)That agency staff need the protection of a union as much as permanent staff

c)That UNISON must recruit agency staff to the union, and where appropriate, seek recognition agreements with employment agencies. This will both undercut the employer’s attempts to undermine the trade unions and protect vulnerable staff

d)That contrary to popular belief, agency staff do have legal rights. As part of its campaigning work, UNISON should ensure that agency staff are aware of these rights and that the local government employers’ and agencies abide by them

Conference therefore instructs the Service Group Executive:

i)To work with the National Executive Council to ensure that guidance and support is provided to branches to recruit and organise agency workers.

ii)To ensure that branches are provided, as part of this guidance, with guidance on the legal status of members who are agency employees.