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Equal pay win for agency staff

AGENCY staff must receive the same basic pay and conditions as permanent employees, an EU directive has outlined.

The new move for equal treatment of temporary agency workers and full-time employees applies across the economy from next Monday.

However, employers have claimed that this could affect up to 8,000 jobs across all industries.

The Department for Enterprise said that it would be meeting representatives of private sector employers today to discuss the matter in detail.

The Health Service Executive could be hit with a €33m bill next year after it introduced new scales for agency staff several months ago.

The directive also allows for a qualifying period under which agency workers could be recruited on different terms for a specific period if agreement on this could be reached between employers and unions.

Employers argue that instant equal treatment would increase their cost base and be bad for business.

Irish unions and the Government have been locked in negotiations for the last three months, but so far unions have refused to concede any qualifying period without concessions on better terms for Joint Labour Committees.

IBEC said that it was impossible for employers to know their obligations as the Government had not yet published legislation to transpose the directive into Irish law.