CWU accuses agency of using loophole in EU rules to pay agency staff less than in-house staff
BT has been criticised by the Communications Workers Union (CWU) over disproportionate pay among its agency-employed call centre staff – in some cases almost £10 per hour less than those hired direct.
The issue, according to the CWU, affects around 3,000 staff working for recruitment agency Manpower.
The CWU claims the majority of Manpower employees working in BT call centres are receiving as much as £9.48 an hour less than staff directly employed by BT in the same role.
The CWU says Manpower uses a “devastating loophole” in the European Union Temporary Agency Workers Directive – a regulation that gave temporary staff the same rights as permanent employees – to employ specifically-exempt temporary staff for less pay than their permanent counterparts.
The CWU added that use of so-called “Pay Between Assignment” contracts is becoming more prevalent among UK recruitment agencies, meaning staff can be employed on contracts guaranteeing just one hour’s pay per week.
BT said its agency workers had complied with all legal regulations. It said: “Our procurement teams work closely with all our suppliers to ensure that all appropriate aspects of legislation, fairness and good practice are maintained in relation to the workers they supply to BT.
“BT uses agencies for a number of reasons, including surges in demand. Doing an agency job for BT can lead to a permanent post with the company.”
The CWU is lobbying government and the TUC to enact a change in the legislation that would remove the loophole.