Darlington man hits out at agencies after contract cancelled at short notice

A North-East father-of-three is calling for changes to the way ‘exploitative‘ employment agencies operate, after a rolling contract was cancelled at short notice, leaving him struggling to support his family.

Luke Buckley, from Darlington, began working for a major recruitment agency last September and was left astonished at the way it operated.

Calling for legal changes, the 36-year-old highlighted issues around a lack of employment rights, the impact of temporary contracts, short notice periods, lack of sick pay and being paid less than permanent employees for the same job.

Mr Buckley said he only took up agency work as “99 per cent” of jobs advertised through Job Centres were offered by agencies and insisted he would rather have any job than none at all.

However, he recently had a rolling contract cancelled with just a week’s notice – a legal practice that has nonetheless left him struggling to pay bills, manage debt and care for his family.

He said:

“It’s really wrong that agencies can do this – you can be working one day and told the next that you’re not needed, it’s not right.

“You go to Job Centres and it’s mostly agency work, that’s all that’s out there and you’ve just got to do it.

“People are being pushed into agency jobs and short term contracts where they can let you go at the drop of a hat and that’s a serious problem.”

Darlington MP Jenny Chapman hit out at agencies in response to Mr Buckley’s plight.

She said cases like Mr Buckley’s were becoming common, and added:

It’s a steadily increasing problem and it’s because some agencies are able to exploit the fact that people are desperate to work in order to support their families.

 “They’re being forced into situations where they have no predictable income and don’t know if they’re going to have work next week.

“They’re unable to break that cycle and I’ve even heard instances of agencies paying the minimum wage then charging people admin costs.

“It’s outrageous and exploitative.”

In response to claims that job agencies monopolise vacancies advertised at Job Centres, a spokeswoman from the Department of Work and Pensions said their system, Universal Jobmatch, revolutionised the way jobseekers look for work.

> If setting people up for sanctions is revolutionary, it certainly has.  Otherwise it’s a rubbish site and I don’t use it.

 She added: “We have thorough checks and balances in place and remove anything which doesn’t meet our standards.”
> Well at least they seem to have blocked the the self-employed leaflet distributor non-jobs that used to dominate it, so I suppose that’s a step forward. Took them ages to get around to it, though.
Source –  Northern Echo, 27 Mar 2015
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