The trade union response to agency labour in Britain

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ABSTRACT

The growth of agency work in recent years has posed a challenge to trade unions, which must decide if they will accept agency workers as part of their constituency and accept employment agencies as legitimate labour-market actors. This article analyses the reaction of British unions to agency work and identifies four main responses: exclusion, replacement, regulation and engagement. It concludes with an evaluation of union policies, which stresses the need for unions to secure broad regulation of the agency labour market either through multi-employer bargaining or employment law.

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