Local government relies on agency workers to cover for staff who are either on holiday or long term sick leave.
They have fewer rights than permanent staff. Claims for unfair dismissal by agency workers are viewed as a non-starter. Some countries in the European Union are pressing for a Europe-wide law giving greater employment rights to agency staff. The British government, however, is blocking the proposals to give agency workers the right to the same terms and conditions as permanent staff.
The trade unions need to mount a major campaign to put an end to what has been described as the "two tier work force".