Responding to announcements made by Business Secretary Vince Cable today in his speech at Liberal Democrat conference about a new enquiry into workers’ rights, Recruitment and Employment Confederation’s chief executive Kevin Green says:
“One in three people in Britain has worked as an agency worker, freelancer or contractor at some point in their careers. It is a mainstream part of our labour market and a positive choice for more and more individuals, as well as offering practical options for employers who need to manage fluctuations in demand and competing business pressures.
“We will work closely with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills as they conduct this enquiry and we are keen to participate by providing evidence and research. Dr Cable must be sure to avoid proposing changes that would have any kind of detrimental impact on the UK’s successful, flexible labour market which has kept record numbers of people in employment and avoided the problems faced by many of our European neighbours throughout the downturn.
“Closer working between teams from the various Whitehall departments and agencies responsible for enforcement of employment law and regulation sounds sensible, but we await further details. Anything that helps raise standards and creates a level playing field in the market for compliant recruiters has to be welcomed.”
On Dr Cable’s call for an increase in the national minimum wage for apprentices, Kevin Green added:
“Apprenticeships are a great gateway to work for people entering the labour market or looking to develop new skills. Any major changes to the scheme must be developed in partnership with employers. The Low Pay Commission must remain independent of politics.”