Communication Workers Union 
Meridian Branch

Union Office, British Telecom, Becket House, New Dover Road,

Canterbury, Kent, CT1 3BB

Tel: 01227 760311 Fax: 01227 815929 e-mail:

Manpower & Agency


Canterbury Agency Action Day:

                                   loopholes allow exploitation


On Wednesday 16th January members of the Communication Workers Union will be highlighting the exploitation of agency workers at a call centre in Canterbury thanks to a loophole in the law.


At the Becket House call centre in Canterbury around 50 agency workers are on ‘Pay Between Assignment’ contracts. This means that after 12 weeks, instead of receiving equal pay with directly-employed staff, they remain on as little as £6.50 an hour, well below the Living Wage rate of £7.45 an hour and considerably less than other staff at the call centre.


CWU {Meridian Branch} said: “It’s not fair that agency workers in Canterbury should be prevented from the equal pay they’re entitled to because of these sneaky contracts which sign away their rights. Both agencies and hirers are at fault for choosing to use these contracts instead of sticking to the spirit of the law which is meant to award equal treatment after a 12 week qualifying period.


“Agency staff should be entitled to equal pay with directly-employed staff doing the same job as them after 12 weeks. It’s not fair to exploit people on £6.50 an hour – less than the Living Wage - and this loophole should be closed.


“We’re asking companies and agencies to stop using these contracts. Most people signing up with an agency don’t realise what rights they’re signing away and it’s irresponsible and dishonest to exploit often low-paid workers in this way. We’d also like the government to look at this issue as it’s clearly in contradiction to the spirit of the law.”



Agency workers should receive equal treatment after 12 weeks in a job, following legislation brought in in October 2011, but a legal loophole allows ‘Pay Between Assignment’ (PBA) contracts which sign away agency workers’ rights to equal pay. Many agency workers are signing these contracts without realising the implications.


Quote from a local agency worker “I’ve been working here for six months and my pay hasn’t gone up from £6.50. I do exactly the same job as people on much higher pay than me and it just doesn’t seem fair. I didn’t know what I was signing away with my contract but now I can’t get out of it. I should be getting equal pay now. I feel duped out of my rights.”


***Photo opportunity***

BT Becket House, 4-6 New Dover Road, Canterbury, CT1 3BB.

CWU members will be outside the call centre on 3 entrances from 7:30am until 12pm handing out information, loophole-themed treats and badges to workers and will be available for interview on the day. Stopping for photos at 10am.


For more info contact: Dave Booker, 07841039561,

Agency Regulations - Manpower

Please find attached an electronic copy of a leaflet which has been designed for our Manpower members working on the BT Account.

This is the first of a number of electronic leaflets that will be designed to inform our Manpower members of their rights to Equal Treatment.

Please see all LTB’s relating to the Agency Regulations:                                 More>

Performance and Sick Absence Management in BT

Since I last wrote to you, we have been in intense negotiations with BT on the issues of Performance and Sick Absence Management and I can report that we have made some progress. This could only have been done by the company acknowledging that we had the full support of members in a campaign on this issue and I personally would like to thank you for your commitment......More>  




Over the past few weeks we have met on several occasions regarding performance management and sick absence in BT and the purpose of this letter is to summarise the outcome of these discussions.


Before going into the specific issues raised by the CWU, I would.......More>

Implementation of Agency Regulations: How do they affect CWU Manpower members working on the BT account?


Over the next few months or so it will be the intention of the CWU to produce a

number of leaflets to advise you of your rights relating to the Agency Regulations

which will come into force in England, Scotland and Wales on the 1 October 2011 and for Northern Ireland the 1 December 2011..........More>



Archived Letters