Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/430/5053
Fight parasitic job agencies
IN MOST towns and cities you're likely to see a recruitment agency. If you're out of work and need money you can go to an agency and they can offer you a job that is casual, low-paid and short-term.
To benefit from this you have to provide ridiculous amounts of identification, a full work history and sometimes take tests to prove you can spell and count. They then promise to call you when they find a company with a high turnover of workers.
Once the recruitment agency finds you a job, they typically take a portion of your earnings for the pleasure of finding it for you. The tenure of your stay may be short-term so you may find yourself in numerous jobs while you're with the agency.
There is no obligation for a company to offer you a job directly employed by them.
If the company keeps you as a 'temp', the company can prevent you for applying for internal positions. It is possible to remain an agency worker in a company, never get taken on permanently and never be promoted, while the agency keeps taking a portion of your earnings.
Traditionally, workers could expect a job for life if they moved into a certain industry or learned a trade. The company would offer job security, training, and the prospect of promotion as you moved through your career.
Today 600,000 agency 'temps' receive no sick pay, no pension, no vocational training and are paid less than permanent workers doing similar work.
Many agency workers cannot claim unfair dismissal when sacked without notice or cause. They have no right to redundancy pay, parental leave or flexible working hours or even to see a statement of their terms and conditions!
New Labour's promotion of neo-liberal policies and capitalist globalisation is the reason for such changes in work. British capitalism has seized the opportunity to lower wages and conditions, cut jobs and create a 'flexible' labour market, as well as outsourcing jobs to low-wage economies in Eastern Europe and Asia.
The future that many young workers face under capitalism will be worse than that of previous generations. We need to fight for a new mass workers' party that offers an alternative to the three main parties' pro-big business policies. This must include fighting along with the trade unions to improve all workers' wages and conditions and putting an end to the parasitic job agencies.
Have you had experience of working for job agencies? If you have a story to tell, send it to email@example.com.
In The Socialist 9 March 2006:
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news