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Industry keen to keep recruitment issues priority for incoming government

Enabling employers to use strike breakers, a referendum on the UK’s EU membership and protecting the UK’s flexible labour market are among the issues recruitment and contractor trade bodies and unions would most like to discuss with the incoming government.
This afternoon the Conservative Party secured the necessary number of seats to form a government.
But it appears the new administration will shortly be on a collision course with the Trades Union Congress (TUC). The TUC has vowed to oppose any move by a Tory government to implement its election manifesto promise to repeal “nonsensical” restrictions banning employers from hiring agency staff to provide “essential cover” during strike action.
Commenting on the proposal, a TUC spokesperson told Recruiter this morning while it was too early to talk about any campaign it would mount against the proposal, the TUC would oppose any move to enable employers to bring in agency staff to break strikes. 
Another of the party’s promises was a referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union. 
Commenting on this party promise, Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) chief executive Kevin Green said in a statement: “An EU referendum looks certain and this could create uncertainty for businesses. Markets need stability, and our strength comes from the UK working together and as part of the EU. We will continue to advocate the UK’s ongoing membership within a reformed EU.”
Meanwhile, protecting the UK’s flexible working market is high on the agenda for the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo).  
Samantha Hurley, head of external relations & compliance at APSCo, said in a statement: “In terms of the labour market, we hope that this government will continue to balance the needs of business and the economy in general with the protection of potentially vulnerable workers.
“We will specifically be pushing for a new regulatory framework that differentiates highly paid, highly skilled professionals, putting them outside the regulation that has clearly been designed to protect vulnerable workers. Allied to this, we will pursue the appointment of a junior minister with a specific remit over flexible staffing – as per our manifesto.”
The Conservatives’ expected victory was welcomed by contractor groups. Parasol founder and chief executive Rob Crossland, who also heads up sister firm ClearSky Contractor Accounting, said: “Labour’s negative rhetoric regarding the recruitment industry and umbrella companies demonstrated an alarming misunderstanding of our sector, and the arrival of Ed Miliband at 10 Downing Street would have worried many contractors.
“As one of Britain’s largest contractor employment providers, we look forward to engaging in a positive and constructive dialogue with the new Tory administration – for example, on travel & subsistence tax relief reforms.”
Elsewhere Julia Kermode, CEO of the Freelancer and Contractor Services Association (FCSA), said she was pleased that the Conservative Party has been re-elected as they seemed to have the better understanding of her sector, but added: “I would urge Mr Cameron and his government to engage with us further and acknowledge the value of contractors and freelancers as he returns to No 10. 
“Some Conservative policies simply do not recognise the value of the freelance workforce, and the ramifications of any legislation they might be considering implementing, specifically the T&S legislation, would have a negative impact on the working lives of many contractors.” 
Chris Bryce, CEO at the Association of Independent Professionals and Self-Employed (IPSE), added: “IPSE has an excellent working relationship with the Conservative Party, as indicated by the appointment of an ambassador to the self-employed. We hope the ambassador’s role can grow into a ministerial role in the new Parliament to reflect the increasing importance of the self-employed to the UK’s economy.
“The Conservative Party took up many of IPSE’s ideas in their manifesto and we look forward to seeing these implemented. A new business conciliation service would help address some of the issues stemming from late payments and we hope to play a leading role in contributing to reviews on how, mortgages, pensions and maternity and paternity pay could work better for the self-employed in the new Parliament."
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