Centrica cuts agency staff

Energy giant Centrica has overhauled its use of temporary staff to avoid a £2m a year bill caused by stringent new rules on agency workers coming into force on 1 October. Centrica cut the number of temps it uses from 1,300 to 670 and re-hired more than 300 former temps as permanent employees to prepare for the new European-imposed agency workers directive. The new rules, which will give agency staff the same rights on pay and working conditions as permanent staff, have faced severe lobbying by UK business groups such as the Confederation of British Industry, which fear it could limit the flexibility of the UK’s labour market.