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“Letter to the editor” response to Welsh Government ban on umbrella companies

13 March 2015

Dear Sir

I am outraged and disappointed to learn that the Welsh Government has formally barred the use of umbrella payroll companies on public works contracts. I have been in correspondence with Jane Hutt, the Minister for Finance and Government Business in Wales and in January she acknowledged that “not all practices within the umbrella employment and accountancy services are unfair.” It seems that she has been beaten down by a union which has some clear misconceptions about the role of umbrella employers. UCATT is using bullying tactics and despite many requests from the Freelancer and Contractors Services Association (FCSA), whose members represent thousands of contractors and freelancers, refuses to meet us to hear and appreciate the benefits that compliant umbrella employers provide to contractors and freelancers who often choose to work this way. Umbrella employment is the mechanism that provides all statutory benefits of permanent employment whilst enabling the worker to fulfil a series of contract roles and have their affairs managed centrally.

UCATT has bulldozed its way to get this result and I strongly believe the Welsh Assembly has laid down and rolled over without listening to the full facts. Compliant umbrella firms are committed to ensuring workers are treated fairly and with respect – it is the cowboys that we are intent on ridding from our industry. We are all agreed on that – why won’t UCATT and now the Welsh Assembly listen to us?

Yours faithfully

Julia Kermode