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Issue Date:- 26 May 2008


UNISON has been instrumental in winning equal treatment for agency workers after 12 weeks in employment, despite resistance from employers who wanted rights after 1 year.  The deal, hammered out between the TUC, the Government and the CBI, will be followed up by a European Directive and UK legislation to deliver equal treatment.

UNISON General Secretary, Dave Prentis, who led the negotiations as President of the TUC, said:- “This is a great step forward to protect the majority of vulnerable agency workers. And, significantly, a leap towards the trade union position. We have been campaigning for these rights for the past 6 years and the log jam has at last been broken. This was unfinished business from the Warwick Agreement.

The abuse of temporary agency workers is a shameful relic of another age that should be outlawed.   It cannot be right that in the 21st century, we still allow unscrupulous bosses to exploit the most vulnerable workers by denying them basic employment rights.

Agency workers are becoming an increasing feature of the public sector and we want to make sure that they are treated fairly.

We will continue campaigning to protect those workers, not covered by the agreement, who may still be exploited and abused by bad bosses.

We want to make sure that proper penalties are imposed on employers who abuse their position”.

The joint declaration states that after 12 weeks in a given job, there will be an entitlement to equal treatment. Equal treatment is defined to mean “at least the basic working and employment conditions that would apply to the workers’ concerned if they had been recruited directly by that undertaking to occupy the same job”. It covers 70% of agency workers.

The Government undertakes “to engage with its European partners to seek agreement on the terms of the agency workers’ directive that will enable this agreement to be brought into legal effect in the UK.

The Government hopes the EU agreement will be obtained in time for the necessary UK implementing legislation to be introduced in the next Parliamentary session”.


"FUEL costs, not the weather, are most likely to ruin the traditional motoring Bank Holiday that was once a cheap Spring break for the family.  The record fuel prices, especially for drivers of diesels, have wiped out the promised financial benefits of driving a new fuel-efficient car." says Neil Greig, IAM Trust Director.

According to the IAM Trust:-

* the fuel cost for a typical family break of 1,000 miles has risen by up to 50% since 2003, in spite of today's cars squeezing around 5% more miles out of every litre of fuel

* fuel increases since 2003 have eliminated the cost benefits of more efficient engines, eg 1000 miles in a new diesel Ford Focus in 2003 cost £79.58 (petrol £106.08). The same trip in a new diesel Focus today costs £120.57 (petrol £146.47)

* it's even worse for families that cannot afford a new car, eg a 5-year old Focus uses around 5% more fuel than a brand new model, raising their bill to £127.37(petrol 157.06), if driven frugally.

"This weekend, you can ease the strain on your wallet by tackling the common fuel wasters that can increase costs by up to 40%," says Greig:-

* roof racks and top boxes add 20% to fuel consumption at 70 mph remove racks and top boxes once you're at your destination

* speeding at 80mph uses up to 15% more fuel than travelling at 70mph stick to speed limits - save fuel costs and avoid fines

* hurried or aggressive driving wastes up to 15% more fuel allow plenty of time for the journey, stay well back from the vehicle ahead to minimise braking - and relax, it's a holiday

* air conditioning increases fuel consumption by up to 10% turn off air conditioning when the outside temperature is below 18C

* underinflated tyres waste fuel and wear out quicker, just 5 psi below the right pressure uses up to 3% more fuel, check pressures before setting off, when the tyres are cold

* fuel at motorway service areas typically cost up to 7p (or 32 p a gallon) a litre more than nearby petrol stations, fill up at non-motorway filling stations but don't skip regular breaks on long journeys

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