On Europe & You last month Clare debated the need to protect agency workers' rights with Denis Pennel, from the International Confederation of Private Employment Agencies.
Together with fellow Labour MEPs Glenis Willmott and Siôn Simon, last month Clare met with agency workers from Swindon, the GMB trade union and representatives from the European Commission to raise issues relating to the Agency Workers Regulation and in particular the so-called 'Swedish' derogation, which allows agencies to opt out of equal pay if the individual is permanently employed by the agency.
The agency workers are employed by a recruitment agency called Tempay Ltd, who complete work on behalf of Marks and Spencer. The agency staff are contracted to only a seven hours per week contract, even though they can be expected to complete a 37-hour rota. If they are not available for every day of the rota they can be disciplined for absenteeism.
The agency staff are not entitled to the same pay as their permanent counterparts, who, for example, receive double the hourly rate on a Sunday. It is a common occurrence for employees to be turned away from their work on a regular basis and not provided with travel costs. This means some individuals have ended up out of pocket by the end of the week.
Here, Clare debates the wider issues with Denis: