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End 'Fast Buck Zero Responsibility' Business Model

Tuesday, March 28, 2017


Union General Secretary calls for action on firms who 'maximise profit on the back of insecure work' by using agency staff as permanently precarious labour.

GMB General Secretary Tim Roache this morning gave evidence to the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee where he called for action on firms who use agency workers in place of permanent staff.

The committee, which is holding an inquiry into the future of work - including the employment practices of agencies and firms like ASOS and Sports Direct - held sessions specifically looking at agency work in modern Britain.

GMB, which organises in both the public and private sector, called for an end to companies exploiting agency worker loopholes allowing them to keep people on short-term contracts for long periods of time - sometimes for years.

The union believes this has become a business model, rather than a short term measure for peaks in demand or to cover for illness, leading to mass insecurity for hundreds of thousands of workers across the country.

GMB wants a cap on the number of agency workers a company can have on the books at any one time and is calling for government action to force companies to publish the proportion of work conducted by agency workers.

At the select committee, the GMB General Secretary accused employers of using agency workers on a 'vast scale' and turning the form of insecure employment into a business model that prioritised profit at the expense of workplace rights, health and safety and the security of the workforce.

Tim Roache, GMB General Secretary, said:

"The idea that companies are using agency labour to meet short term demand is thoroughly undermined when we see the volume of agency workers big brand names are now rely upon as a matter of course.

"There is absolutely no reason why a decent employer would keep staff on an insecure contract with inferior rights if it's not to make a fast buck and take zero responsibility.

"A cap on the number of agency workers a company can use and making sure they are transparent in doing so is the minimum the government can and should start with.

"Employing agency workers on an industrial scale has become a business model for some companies, but someone always has to pay, be it the individual, the government to the tune of billions in tax credits and other benefits, or the economy.

"When you start to piece together the national picture - agency work, bogus self-employment, zero hours contracts and the gig economy - you start to see an image of working Britain that is just not acceptable in the twenty first century.

"Working people deserve dignity in their work and in their lives, the ability to plan for the future, to know where their next pay cheque will come from.

"All this is possible, but the government needs to take action to make it so."


Contact: GMB press Office on GMB press office on 07958 156846 or at


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