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Posted on 15 January 2013 at 17:04 GMT

Agency Action Day: 16th January

'Workers cheated on pay' says the CWU in a press release:

On Wednesday 16th January events will take place at call centres around the country to highlight the exploitation of agency workers thanks to a loophole in the law which is costing workers more than 500 a month in lost wages at some sites.

Members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) will be highlighting the problem to agency workers with badges, stunts and photo-ops.

Agency workers should receive equal treatment after 12 weeks in a job, following legislation brought in in October 2011, but a legal loophole allows 'Pay Between Assignment' (PBA) contracts, which sign away agency workers' rights to equal pay. Many agency workers are signing these contracts without realising the implications.

CWU general secretary Billy Hayes said:

"Both agencies and hirers are at fault for choosing to use these contracts which sign away workers' rights to equal pay, rather than sticking to the spirit of the new legislation which had equal pay at its heart.

"Agency staff earning less than the Living Wage are losing out to the tune of 500 or more a month. They're entitled to equal pay but are being exploited. This loophole should be closed.

"We're asking companies and agencies to stop using these PBA contracts. Most people signing up with an agency don't realise what rights they're signing away and it's irresponsible and dishonest to exploit often low-paid workers in this way.

"We'd also like government to look at this issue as it's clearly in contradiction to the spirit of the law."

More than 1,000 agency workers working for Manpower/BT are on these contracts. Industry bodies say that between 17% and 30% of all agency workers are now affected by these contracts.

Events in England and Wales will take place in:

Blackburn - 8am - 3pm 3-5 Jubilee Street, Blackburn, Lancs, BB1 1EP

Canterbury - Becket House, New Dover Road, Canterbury, Kent, CT1 3BB

Doncaster - 8am start at BT Call Centre, Wilmington Drive, Doncaster, S Yorkshire, DN4 5PQ

Gosforth - 9am start at Gosforth Park Way, Alters' Lane, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE12 8ET

Lancaster - 7:30am start at BT Telephone Exchange, Cawthorne Street, Lancaster, LA1 1TG **Photo-op 12 noon on Town Hall steps with local politicians***

Lincoln - 7am - 3pm BT Call Centre, 4 Ruston Road, Lincoln, LN1 7TS

Nottingham - 9am start at 2 Castle Wharf, 2 Canal Street, Nottingham, NG1 7BT

South Shields - 12 noon start at One Harton Quay, South Shields, South Tyneside, NE33 1SJ

Warrington - 7:30am start at 110 Europa Boulevard, Warrington, Cheshire, WA5 7FZ

Newport 7:30am start at Telecom House, Factory Road, Newport, Gwent, NP20 5FA

Campaigners and agency workers will be available for interview. For more information visit website: www.cwu.org/agency-loopholes.html or follow the Twitter hashtag #AgencyLoophole

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