back to article Unions demands better conditions for temps

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) is calling for better protection for the rights of temporary staff in the UK. The TUC got YouGov to poll 2,700 people who have worked via an agency in the last year. The unions said the survey was likely to be skewed to better paid and higher skilled workers, and that lower paid agency staff …


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  1. David Dawson 1
    Thumb Down

    So long as they don't do this to Ltd Company Contractors

    They don't want the benefits!

  2. lorenzo
    Paris Hilton

    Freeloading contractors

    Pay your taxes!

    Like the rest of us

    Been downsized?

    Live of your vast savings

    Paris-cos she knows a free lunch when she sees one

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Small point

    Contractor != temporary worker

    There's a world of difference (and tens of thousands of pounds) between the two.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    RE: Freeloading contractors

    What are you on about?

    I probably pay more in tax than your total annual salary...

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    We do and I am...

    Envy is a terrible thing - if you were good enough to hack contracting you'd find *why* we charge what we do, and why (speaking for myself) we're not interested in the same rights etc that permies get.

  6. Anonymous Coward



  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Enjoy being a peon wage-slave do you?

  8. Seanmon


    ..often the first to be shown the door when times get hard."

    erm...isn't that EXACTLY the point of hiring temps?

  9. Jim Coleman

    @ Lorenzo

    If you think contractors are doing so spectacularly well, then you're being a bit daft by not becoming one, are you not?

    And as far as paying taxes goes, I pay more tax than the average person earns in a year, so you might want to update your records with that useful bit of information.

    I used to be a permie but decided contracting was more lucrative, so I became a contractor. I didn't sit on my sorry arse, moaning that they all got paid so much. I suggest you do the same.

    Put up, or shut up.

  10. lorenzo
    Paris Hilton

    Freeloading contractors

    Get back to work

    Or have you clocked off?

    Paris - cos she knows a thing or two about money for nothing

  11. matt 49


    My partner temped for a union that was actively campaigning for better temp worker rights.

    Then due to bad management and a miss understand she was shown the door after 2 weeks with no warning

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    temps and contractors

    Are pretty much distinguished by being either skilled or unskilled. A temp is usually brought in to do mind numbing admin work, or answer phones, for minimum wage.

    From my experience of temps though, the vast majority are hired by dredging the shallow end of the gene pool, so the odd few that are actually good and are underpayed (i used to be one to tide me over after uni while looking for a real job), are more than made up for by the others that are legally required to be paid far more than their performance warrants. Printing off mail merge letters , from a premade template, and putting them in an envelope proved too challenging for a number of them.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A bit of help, please

    What is the difference between "Temporary worker", "Temporary Staff", "Agency worker", "Temp" and "Contractor"? I'm sure there were more terms.

    As a self employed contractor I net about the same as if I were on staff with my clients. The balance of my income goes to pay employer and employee NI, income and corp tax, pension, accountants/prof fees, subsistence while living (almost permanently) away from home and training (CPD). This suits me because, for one reason amongst many, I can avoid the 'politics' most staff must put up with. I don't want more 'protection' from Brussels, Whitehall and the TUC as it raises my costs and those of my clients and diminished my income accordingly for NO benefit.

    There are some much better paid than I - but they are a relatively small number. The vast majority of "temps" are not in IT and are exploited at between £5-£18(ish)/hr. They might benefit from "protection" and a Union would possibly be the solution if the employer allowed. By all means find a way of protecting them from Dickensian exploitation but also find some way of avoiding a big, fat, heavy, treacely, paintbrush for the likes of me - please.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    I'm Permie

    I'm quite a well paid permie, could have gone out on my own a few times.

    I would like to see some contractor people I know crash and burn with their positions, which are more often than not permanent positions that the company cannot fill with decently skilled staff because all the decently skilled staff have decided to become contractors.

    I like to think I've put a few of them out of contracts, mainly by making them look like idiots.

    I enjoy laughing at their bitter complaints about bank holidays being forced unpaid holidays.

    Temps aren't contractors though as has been pointed out, I can't see the attraction of being a temp.

    The money thing is all bullshit anyway, there's not a lot of difference if you're properly competent, the rip off is always the middle men and the taxman. Companies hiring out permies to other companies for £1250 when the guys daily rate is actually £450, worse still he's a permie on £50K pa, that's proper money for nothing right there.

    Middle men, typically called agents are the real thieving mercenary bastards.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    this is NOT about the mercenary contractors

    this whole issue is actually about the 1000's of staff in call centres and other such places who work for 5,10,15+ years for the same company but are kept at arms length through an employment agency and generally get LESS pay, LESS holidays and LESS benefits than the permanent staff who (often) do exactly the same job.

    There's is a world apart from the 'other' type of contractors who clearly do not want 'equal' pay, and, going by the comments above, are rather arrogant sods!

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I don't have a problem with contractors getting paid more. It's only fair given the lack of job security, benefits etc etc

    What I object to is the tax dodging that goes with it. Yes I know blah blah blah it's avoidance not evasion blah blah blah

    Tax dodging is tax dodging. Just because you know how to fiddle it to just stay the right side of the law doesn't make it any less morally wrong.

    So, in many cases, not only do they get paid more, but they actually pay less tax as well. I know people who earn >£250 a day and pay the same amount of tax as someone earning minimum wage.

  17. David Simpson 1

    Bitter little desk weasles

    Funny that the article didn't mention contractors, it's talking about temps, unless you've had your head in the sand for the last 8 years nearly every major company runs on temps, in fact most companies would love to have all their staff on temp contracts it's about time someone did something about it.

    I'm self employed (not a contractor) and to all those poor little desk weasles out there, your bitter cries are music to my ears LOL

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @AC - 15:28

    "Tax dodging is tax dodging"

    No its really not, you have swallowed all of Gordon's BS,

    Tax is complex, more so here in the UK than many places, so in order to know what to pay you generally need an accountant. They can tell you what are legally required to pay and what you are not, that is simply being diligent.

    Also before so many of you judge contracting based on the tax laws of the 80s, i would point you all to read the excessive legislation that is IR35, specifically created to catch out contractors, by creating a situation where you don' t know you going to be liable for it until after the work is done.

    Stop whinging about contractors, we take up the slack so your company doesn't fail by relying on you.

    Also dont call me a tax dodger, i pay 29% deductions at the moment... is that comparable to you (its more i would wager).

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @lorenzo 14:53 GMT

    No need to do either of those things, unlike you (presumably) we can do more than one thing at a time.

  20. Ally J

    Temps are not necessarily contractors

    What part of this isn't getting through. Temporary workers are, as a rule, worlds away from making money hand over fist as some of the comments would imply.

    One of the very few advantages of being a lowly temp is that the sh!t jobs you get can't be 'insourced' economically, so mostly things can only improve.

  21. Anonymous Coward

    Temps go first...

    ... I hope they didn't pay some consultant a silly amount to come up with that one.

    They are temporary and I would expect temporary staff to be released first, as they are to fill a temporary gap.

    Have I missed something?

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @ Jim Coleman

    Obviously you are paid a huge wage then.

    How can it be more lucrative being a contractor if you pay so much taz, unless you earn even more than before.

    I wonder if you are the one man limited company that pays its only staff member almost nothing, but pays a huge dividend every month and so much stuff becomes a business expense.....

    of course contrators don't do this sort of thing ... NO!!!! of course not.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE: tax dodging

    Not really, especially with IR35 and assorted legislation - we now pay a large amount of tax - as has been mentioned already by other contractors.

    However, to put it into perspective look at it like this:

    I need training, I pay my training costs, I claim expenses / tax breaks on them.

    Permie needs training, they get training from company (which also then claims tax breaks).

    Same for travel, overnight stays equipment etc.

    So surely if I am avoiding tax by claiming expenses against travel, training, kit etc. then you permies should be offering up extra money to cover the "benefit in kind" for your own training, travel, HR functions and so on.

    It is quite difficult and complex and risky to take dividends these days, it can be done, and often is to varying degrees, but certainly not to the extent of the 90s.

    Oh and one last point: when you are looking at how much you think contractors make, virtually every contractor out there lies about this, by overstating the returns greatly.

  24. jake Silver badge

    Hmmm. About taxes.

    Those of you above, claiming to pay more in taxes than the average peon earns in the same time-frame, I STRONGLY suggest you get yourself a better CPA, or listen to the one you use now.

    I've been self employed since 1988. I payed roughly US$25,000 in total taxes (state, federal, and local) between 1988 and 1990. None since. Legally, too. I was audited by the IRS in 2007 (my cashflow changed radically after I bought the ranch ... DUH!). It was hell, but the IRS found no issues. Thanks, Jeff! :-)

  25. BigTim

    eople who earn >£250 a day and pay the same amount of tax as someone earning minimum wage

    Sorry that's just total BS unless said contractor is using some kind of phoney company on the isle of Man or somesuch (these schemes are being shut down now and quite right too).

    Contractors' companies pay corp tax on their income and then they pay income tax on the dividend (0% for basic rate and 22.5% on higher rate) meaning the marginal rate is higher than income tax (because corp tax rate is now higher than basic rate income tax) They also pay NI on any salary or benefits in kind they get from their co.

    They are not tax dodgers, they typically pay more in tax than someone on permanent salary. Yes this is to compensate for the inherent risk of their position, the travelling to jobs away from home, sick time, long periods between contracts. This is what they accept when they decide to go contract.

    If they winge about it, then, just like a permie who's complaining that the other side of the fence has the greener grass then they should simply jump and shut up. Can't have it both ways.

  26. eJ2095


    Only Fools and Horses Theme springs to mind

  27. lorenzo

    Workforce flexibility

    Britain's employment environment is a fair bit more flexible than that enjoyed by our continental cousins. In a downturn when companies stop taking on permies, more contractors get hired. Just look at theunemployment rates in Spain , France and Germany.

    So all the temps/contractors/agency workers, whatever you care to call them, are in gainfull employ because we have legislation that allows agencies to provide companies with short term staff.

    Our economy may well be donald ducked, but the employment legislation situation here actually helps both companies and workers most of the time.

    The TUC have good intentions and some low paid workers are exploited no doubt. People who have contracts of employment, still get exploited.

    Paris- cos even she knows when she's on to a good thing and quits whining

  28. Richard 120

    @jeremy 3

    Starting rate: 10% £0-£2,230

    Basic rate: 22% £2,231-£34,600

    Higher rate: 40% Over £34, 600

    That equates to 30% of my salary, 30% > 29%, I win.

    I dodge some taxes though by taking nursery vouchers, "buying" additional paid holidays and taking some of my salary in other benefits, so it probably works out slightly in my favour.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I dispute your maths.

    I have a tax free allowance of some 6500 or so and then I pay gradually on the rest which I believe starts at 20% up to about 37k over the allowance, now that the 10% band has been abolished (please do keep up with the facts if you are trying to quote them at us)

    And then 40% on the rest.


    for the facts and not just your assumed conjecture.

    Now, admittedly I have not processed the figures to see where that leaves you but I suspect that you would end up paying a lower overall percentage than 29% on the real figures rather than your fairy tale made up bullshit.

    However your statement: "I dodge some taxes though by taking nursery vouchers, "buying" additional paid holidays and taking some of my salary in other benefits, so it probably works out slightly in my favour." not only screws your "win" argument (as you infer yourself) but also negates any right you have to claim we contractors have done anything wrong by avoiding taxes.

    We avoid taxes through legal means (training, expenses, off-shore bank accounts) and you avoid taxes through legal means (nursery vouchers) so there is no difference at all.

    To claim otherwise would be to claim there is a difference between murdering someone with a gun and murdering someone with a knife and that the gunning is somehow perfectly OK but the knifecriming is heinous beyond redemption.

  30. DarkHorseDre
    Paris Hilton

    @ Permie whinge-bags

    *I think someone just got pwned ;)

    I'm a PERMIE and always have been, yes, so stfu before you start lol!

    I prefer being a permie at the minute, due to my circumstances and the old economy issue, however I don't think contractors deserve the bashing they get - its all jealousy!


    . If a contractor is crap and still paid "all that money" - then the boss failed and is wasting the companies money.

    (And when they do fire the contractor, its cheaper than firing a Permie - see below)

    . "all that money" may seem alot, but the company doesnt pay sick pay, redundancy, holiday pay, training costs (in the traditional sense) and other costs. It actually works out cheaper most of the time, especially when the contractor is on a 3/6 month contract and stays less than a year.

    If they want to save costs, they can sack one with like a weeks notice - the contractor gets nothing.

    Permies, as you know, are the opposite. A company spends alot of money to hire, keep and fire a permie, so deal with it.

    Paris, cos she knows all about earning her keep

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