Cardiff Council unveils new agency worker policy

Cardiff Council is planning to make long-term agency workers permanent members of staff as part of its commitment to ‘Fair Work Wales’.

In its latest Corporate Plan, the council has pledged to reduce the number of agency workers on long-term assignments.

Under the new policy, all agency workers with at least four years’ continuous assignment in the same service in the council will be offered a permanent contract without having to go through a recruitment process, subject to relevant pre-employment checks.

Those with at least two years’, but less than four years’, continuous assignment in the same service will be offered a temporary contract. Once the employee has completed four years – taking into account their agency service and temporary contract service – they will be treated as permanent.

The new policy also places a requirement on managers not to engage agency workers if they think the assignment will be for longer than 12 months, unless normal recruitment channels have been exhausted.

In a new report, council officers have recommended adopting the new interim policy and the council’s cabinet will discuss it at its next meeting on Thursday, July 14.

Cllr Chris Weaver, the Cabinet member for finance, modernisation and performance, said: “This policy is very much aligned with the Welsh Government’s Fair Work Commission and its ‘Fair Work Wales’ report which recommends that workers are fairly rewarded, heard and represented and able to progress in a healthy, inclusive environment where rights are respected.

“Decent work also helps bring about a stronger, modernised, more inclusive economy and contributes to national growth and prosperity and helps address inequality, reduce poverty and promote well-being.

“We now plan to work with our union partners over the next six months to make sure the new policy meets the ‘Fair Work’ definition including employee voice and collective representation, security and flexibility, and respect for legal rights. Changes will be subject to review, in consultation with the trade unions, with a view to ensuring that the Council goes as far as it can to meet its fair work commitments”

In a joint statement the three trade unions, the GMB, Unison and Unite, said: “We welcome this move by the council to bring agency workers onto employment contracts. This is something both the council and the unions have been working towards. It’s important that agency workers are given this opportunity and moving forward we will work with the council to monitor the scheme’s progress over the next six months ensuring benefits are fully realised.”