The decision is likely to make it difficult for the UK’s 1.4 million agency workers to make similar claims. The Court says it will not enter into the long-running dispute around the rights of temporary workers, saying it was up to parliament, as opposed to the judiciary, to make changes to the law. Lord Justice Mummery said the courts were “not architects of economic and social policy”.
Agency worker Merana James lost her case against Greenwich Council when she claimed it dismissed her unfairly after three years of service. She said she was entitled to the same rights as other workers at the council.
In December of last year, the European Social Affairs Council failed to agree on the Temporary Workers Directive. The Government believes that increasing agency workers’ rights would be bad for business.
“This case means that the recent spate of cases involving attempts by agency workers to win rights such as unfair dismissal and redundancy claims will now probably dry up,” says partner at law firm Nabarro Sue Ashtiany.