Working Conditions : Compromise Taking Shape on Temporary Work Directive
The proposal for a directive on temporary work, which was widely thought to have been shelved, is now back on the table Since its last examination in June 2003, the proposal has been altered a little, to the satisfaction, it seems, of a large part of member states. The document's recent acceptance by the Committee of Permanent Representatives (Coreper) is, moreover, a necessary condition for the social lovers' group to accept a compromise on working time adjustment (see separate article).
The draft directive concerns public and private temporary enterprises as well as intermediary (non profit-making) entreprises. The restrictions or prohibitions regarding recourse to temporary work must be strictly limited and the states are committed to periodically reviewing these restrictions.
The directive is based on the principle of equal treatment. The temporary worker must at least benefit from "the essential conditions of work and employment," which would have been applicable to him had he been "directly recruited by the company to fill the same position". The only exception concerns remuneration, if the temporary worker has a contract of an unspecified duration.
Two general exemptions from this principle are envisaged:
- short-term secondment contracts (between 0 days and six weeks) ;
- agreement between social partners "if the global protection of the temporary workers" is assured.
The temporary workers benefit from a series of rights or possibilities: the right to have access to the company's social services (canteen, transport, child care), "except for an objective reason;" the possibility of in-house training in the company, the right of access to permanent employment (information on positions declared vacant, the obsoleteness of clauses prohibiting or having the effect of preventing recruitment by a company).
They are taken into consideration, in the temporary employment company, for the calculation of the collective representation threshold. …